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Fluorescence has many applications in lighting, mineralogy, and biochemistry. When fluorescent chemical groups can be attached to other molecules, they can easily be detected. In this activity students will explore how fluorescence works and its potential uses.
Students will be able to:
Understand that an atom or molecule in a ground state can absorb one photon and return to the ground state in two steps, first emitting a photon to fall into an intermediate state.
Recognize that an atom or molecule with this property is called fluorescent.
Explain why the emitted photon will have less energy than the absorbed one.
Understand that it is possible that you cannot see the first photon because it is UV, but can see one of the emitted ones because they are in the visible.
Recognize that this is called fluorescence.
Describe how a molecule can be tagged with a fluorescent molecule.
Explain the value of fluorescent tagging in tracking a molecule.
Fluorescence is glow produced when electrons, which have absorbed energy from a source like ultraviolet (UV) light and have gone to a higher orbital, sink back to a lower orbital, releasing most of the absorbed energy as light of a longer wavelength. Fluorescence has many applications in lighting, mineralogy, and biochemistry. When fluorescent chemical groups can be attached to other molecules, they can easily be detected. In this activity students will explore how fluorescence works and its potential uses.
Additional Related Concepts
Green Fluorescent Proteins
Last Update: 11/25/2008
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