Introduction: DIY Authentic Glowsticks

About: By curating a variety of kits, Kitables eliminates the barriers to Do It Yourself projects. We empower people of all ages to build with confidence. Interested in becoming one of our Contributors?

The chemicals used to do this reaction are rather costly and very difficult to get unless you have a business address, however they are available through Kitables Glowkits. Click the following link to order a kit off of Kickstarter and help support the DIY Science!!

Step 1: Concentrations and Chemicals Used for Video:

If you do not wish to purchase a kit the following is what was used to make our kits...

The final concentrations of the components are as follows:
- 44.5mM TCPO (bis(2,4,6-trichlorophenyl) oxalate)
- .418mM Dye*
- Dissolve the above in DEP (Diethyl phthalate)
When you're ready to activate the glowstick
- Add 20% of your final volume in 3% Hydrogen peroxide

Dyes that we use in our kits:
Blue dye (9,10-Diphenylanthracene)
Green dye (9,10-Bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene)
Orange dye (Rhodamine 6G)
Yellow dye (Rubrene)

If you don't feel like converting to gram weights the following is per 1mL of glowstick.
( for example if you want a 20mL glowstick multiple all the gram weights and volumes by 20)
19mg TCPO
.19mg Dye
800uL DEP
200uL 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

As you may notice this protocol differs slightly from most on the internet as there is no base in my protocol. I have optimized this reaction for glowtime. The addition of a base component enhances the brightness slightly but does seem to lower glow time significantly in my hands.

Also I use 3% Hydrogen peroxide as opposed to 30%.I did this for a few reasons - 30% Hydrogen Peroxide is a strong oxidizer that can cause a good deal of harm, and acquiring 3% is much simpler (while shipping 30% is problematic).

The ester used (TCPO) does not fully dissolve in the solvent used. An optimized ester would solve this problem and I am currently looking for ones that may dissolve better in the solvent. Updates on that pursuit to follow!

That being said I know I have not fully optimized this reaction - too much CEO stuff not enough experiment time :), and optimization really depends on what characteristics you care about the most. So please feel free to leave comments on your results, and thoughts on the protocol.

Step 2: Examples of Finished 15mL Orange Stick