Luminol Test

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
Learners mix a solution containing luminol and copper with a fake blood solution. A chemical reaction between the luminol solution and fake blood (hydrogen peroxide) show learners a blue glow. Forensic scientists spray luminol onto surfaces at crime scenes to detect invisible blood stains. Luminol solution reacts with blood, changing the structure of the molecule and temporarily adding energy. This energy causes the luminol to glow. This activity is used in the Crime Science Chemistry unit in OMSI's Chemistry Lab. Supply estimates are for 100 learners. For safety reasons, this activity should be conducted as a demonstration for younger audiences.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One small dark opaque bottle
  • Two 10-ml graduated cylinders
  • Two 250-ml squeeze bottles
  • NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate) (keep 1000 g on hand)
  • Na2CO3 (sodium carbonate) (keep 200 g on hand)
  • (NH4)2CO3 (ammonium carbonate) (keep 100 g on hand)
  • CuSO4-5H2O (copper sulfate) (keep 100 g on hand)
  • C8H7N3O2 (luminol (3-aminopthalhydrazide)) (keep 25 g on hand)
  • Six 500-ml brown plastic bottles
  • One 1000-ml brown plastic bottle
  • One 1-liter plastic bottle
  • 3% H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) (1 Iiter) — OR — 30% H2O2 (100 ml)
  • Black tape
  • One 50-ml glass beaker
  • Red and green food coloring


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Circulation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Solutions
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics

Informal Categories

  • Crime Science


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation