Why is Quinine Fluorescent?

The plant of a cinchona tree
••• studionobra/iStock/Getty Images

Once frequently used to treat malaria, quinine is an alkaloid found in the bark of the cinchona tree. It is sometimes found in tonic water, and it also happens to be fluorescent. Under a black light, quinine will glow blue.

Black Lights

A black light is also called an ultraviolet light; it emits some parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are not visible to the unaided human eye.

Why Quinine Glows

Quinine contains rare earth compounds called phosphors. These substances glow when they are hit with particular wavelengths of the EM spectrum, including UV light. Phosphors absorb UV light and then emit it in their own color. Thus, the black light's UV radiation is absorbed by the phosphors in the quinine, and then emitted again in the form of glowing blue light.

Related Articles

What Are the Two Major Components of an Atom?
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science
What Are the Colors of Neon?
What Is the Gas Used in Neon Signs that Produces a...
What Color Would a Tester PH Paper Turn if Is Dipped...
How to Neutralize Food Coloring in Water
How to Divide Rational Numbers
Organelles Involved in Photosynthesis
How to Test UV Bulbs
How to Diffuse a Laser Beam
Where Is the Mineral Topaz Found?
The Use of Phosphorous in Light Bulbs
What is Ethanolic Potassium Hydroxide?
Difference Between 316 & 308 Stainless Steel
How to Reactivate a Desiccant
How to Reset a TI89
Physical and Chemical Properties for the Element Aluminum
What Is Nadph in Photosynthesis?
How to Find the Volume of a Sphere in Terms of Pi