Light sticks

Light sticks were invented about 25 years. What they do seems to be like magic, but the technology is actually very simple. The glow of light sticks comes from a release of energy. Like the light bulbm atoms are excited by the chemicals inside the light stick, causing the atoms to go to a higher energy level and then return to a normal light level. As they go down to their normal level, they release energy as light. This chemical process is called chemiluminescence’s.


The chemical reaction that causes the release of energy is reaction between three solutions. The three chemical solutions are hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate ester and a fluorescent dye. The dye is why light sticks have different colors.


A light stick consists of a glass vial containing one solution, inside an even larger plastic vial containing another solution. You bend the plastic vial until the glass vial breaks. The mixing of the solutions causes the light stick to glow.


What is contained in the glass vial is hydrogen peroxide. It is known as the activator since it is what causes the chemical reaction to happen. There is no hydrogen peroxide; there is no chemical reaction. The large plastic vial contains phenyl oxalate ester and dye solution.