Chemiluminescence Examples in Daily Life


Chemiluminescence is the property of molecules of certain elements by virtue of which they are able to emit light radiations into the environment after undergoing a set of chemical reactions. The word chemiluminescence is made up of two words ‘chemi’ and ‘luminescence’. Here, ‘chemi’ represents chemical reactions, while ‘luminescence’ means the process of emission of light. Chemiluminescence was discovered by a German alchemist, Henning Brand in 1669. The energy generated by the reaction of the two chemically active elements causes the electrons to move to the excited state. The excited state is not much stable in nature, which is why after some time, the electrons begin to lose energy and fall back to the ground state. The process of emission of photon particles or light radiations typically takes place when the electrons move from the excited state to the ground state. The process of chemiluminescence is highly sensitive with the value of sensitivity in the range of femtograms.

Examples of Chemiluminescent 

1. Forensic Science

Various forensic science practices such as detecting the presence of blood at a crime scene, determining the route of escape followed by the criminal, uncovering the chances of an attempt to clean blood stains, fingerprints, or other pieces of evidence, etc. make use of the chemiluminescence property of a chemical substance called luminol. Luminol is a substance that is soluble in most organic liquids but is insoluble in water. The property of luminol is to react with an appropriate oxidizing agent and produce a blue glow. The forensic scientists make use of the reaction of iron contained by the blood and luminol to trace even the minute amount of blood present at a crime scene.

Forensic Science

2. Western Blotting

Western blotting is an analytical technique that is usually used in the molecular biology domain to determine the presence of a particular set of proteins in a mixture of proteins contained by a sample of tissues. The western blotting performed at most of the laboratories generally makes use of the chemiluminescent technique.

Western Blotting

3. Spectroscopy

A number of spectroscopy techniques such as mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, etc. make use of the chemiluminescence phenomenon.


4. Food Analysis

Various food quality check and analysis procedures make use of chemiluminescence of elements.

Food Analysis

5. Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

Chemiluminescence primarily finds its application in the medical field to perform diagnoses of various chronic diseases. The treatment procedures of diseases such as cancer, tumours, etc. also employ chemiluminescence for improved and efficient results. Chemiluminescence imaging is generally preferred in place of traditional fluorescence imaging techniques as it offers better penetration and a relatively high signal to noise ratio.

Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

6. Detect Viruses and Parasites

The mosquito-borne viruses typically known as MBVs and mosquito-borne parasites generally abbreviated as MBPs are usually transmitted through hematophagous arthropods-mosquitoes to homoiothermic vertebrates. The detection of such viruses and parasites is generally performed with the help of certain ultra-sensitive chemiluminescence detection techniques. The use of the chemiluminescence phenomenon helps the user determine approximately 19 MBVs and MBPs at the same time.

Detect Viruses and Parasites

7. DNA Hybridization Detection

There exist a variety of processes that make use of the chemiluminescence property of elements for the sensitive detection of DNA hybridization.

DNA Hybridization Detection

8. Chemiluminescence Immunoassay

The biological test used to measure the presence of a small molecule in a solution, known as immunoassay typically makes use of the chemiluminescence phenomenon of elements. The chemiluminescence based immunoassays are generally preferred over radioimmunoassays as they are quite simple and robust in nature.

Chemiluminescence Immunoassay

9. Determine Pollution Level

The chemiluminescence reaction of luminol element with nitric oxide present in the air can be used to produce excited aminophthalate anion particles in the environment. The by-products of this particular chemical reaction include water, molecular nitrogen, and light radiations. The amount of nitric oxide present in the air can be determined easily with the help of chemiluminescence that helps the user estimate the air quality index or the pollution level of a particular area.

Determine Pollution Levels

10. Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are yet another daily life objects that make use of the chemiluminescence property of certain chemical compounds. A glow stick typically consists of two chemical compounds, namely hydrogen peroxide and fluorescent dyes. Upon shaking the glow stick, the potential energy possessed by the chemical compounds tends to get converted into kinetic energy. This results in the production of light radiations into the environment.

Glow Sticks

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