Introduction: Make SMASH-GLOW Crystals!

In this video we make triboluminescent or smash-glow crystals.

Triboluminescence is the phenomena where light is generated when something is rubbed or fractured. The exact mechanism by which triboluminescence works is still under investigation, but the best theories so far propose that the breaking of the structure causes charge separation that release energy upon recombination. This energy is picked up by nearby atoms, in this case europium, and released as light according to their ionization or fluorescence spectra.

Many substances exhibit triboluminescence including sugar and tape. But Europium Tetrakis (Dibenzoylmethide)Triethylammonium is one of the strongest available and its glow can easily be captured by a camera.

It's make by mixing 100mL of Ethanol,  2.93g of dibenzoylmethane, 1.4g of europium nitrate pentahydrate and 1.9mL of triethylamine. The mixture is heated until everything dissolves and then allowed to cool slowly to obtain crystals that are filtered off and washed with ethanol. After thorough drying they are ready for use.


ywetgc (author)2010-08-25

i think it would be cool to put this in between two layers of clear tape, one double sided, and cover the top of a drum set with them then play it in the dark at a show or something

Speedmite (author)ywetgc2010-11-04

Yea but it might distort the drum sound, and no last long. I would go with a led setup with a sensitive vibration sensor. Easy recharge, minimal distort, and depending on the leds, brighter. And now I really want to do that with my bass amp with differnt brigntness for different sound levels

lemonie (author)2010-01-10

What does the Eu cost, I seem to remember that it ain't cheap?


NurdRage (author)lemonie2010-01-10


While not "cheap", half my other chemicals cost more, sometimes MUCH more.

niertap (author)NurdRage2010-08-22

where did you find it for that? sigma and acros have it, but everythings about $100/g

lemonie (author)NurdRage2010-01-10

My mistake, I was remembering europium-chiral-shift reagents...
Thanks anyway.


Zeke (author)2010-07-30

Dance floor.

Jarodwr (author)2010-07-27

i love this, i don't have enough cash to do this so i'll just tell my science teacher we should do this

132connie132 (author)2010-01-12

 How long/ # of smashes will this last?

rimar2000 (author)2010-01-10

Awesome, NurdRage.

Thanks for the captions on the video.

About This Instructable




Bio: NurdRage is a dedicate group of science nerds trying to further amateur science with direct how-to instructions in video format. We saw what was already ... More »
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