Chemistry in Pictures: Cantina chemistry | Chemical & Engineering News

Issue Date: January 25, 2018

Chemistry in Pictures: Cantina chemistry

Department: Science & Technology
Credit: Anna Eliasson
A glowing shot of tequila.
Credit: Anna Eliasson

Curcumin, a fluorescent molecule in turmeric, is not very soluble in water. That’s why Anna Eliasson, a master's student with a major in chemistry at Uppsala University, uses tequila to teach her friends about fluorescence. When pouring this drinkable demo, she explains how curcumin absorbs energy from ultraviolet light, exciting some of its electrons. “When the molecule then returns to its ground state, it loses the extra energy in the form of vibrational energy and visible light,” she says.

“Any other alcohol would work,” Eliasson says, “but my friends happen to like tequila.”

Submitted by Anna Eliasson

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