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Make a UV Detector


Source Institutions

    Lawrence Hall of Science

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Make a UV Detector

In this activity, learners use tonic water to detect ultraviolet (UV) light from the Sun and explore the concept of fluorescence. Learners will compare detectors using tap water and tonic water to observe differences in light from a flashlight and the Sun. Step-by-step instructions are included with photos along with important safety guidelines. This activity needs a sunny day. Activity guide includes a "What's going on?" explanation and connections to relevant science concepts like the difference in light sources, ultraviolet light, fluorescence, and quinine (a substance sensitive to ultraviolet light).

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:
Activity

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • two clear cups (plastic or glass)
  • tonic water
  • tap water
  • flashlight
  • black piece of paper
  • pen
  • two index cards
  • tape
  • hardcover book

Subjects


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Earth, Moon and Sun
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories


  • Outdoor Activity

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Source Collection:

  • DIY Science Apps

Rights:

  • The Regents of the University of California, 2014

Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX10AE05G

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