2015 BFY II Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Measuring Nano-particle Fluorescence in Caramelized Sugar Glass
Abstract: Nano-particle optics and fluorescence are both stimulating topics for introducing students to contemporary experimental physics. We present here a simple experimental system that combines both - measuring the fluorescence observed in glasses made from sugars (hard candy), that require only kitchen stove processing.  The fluorescence is easy to see with UV or green laser pointer illumination. We further characterized the observed fluorescence using a home-built system consisting of high intensity LEDs for the excitation and the student grade Ocean Optics Red Tide Spectrometer to resolve the emission. The fluorescence was found to span between about 470 nm and 650 nm and the emission demonstrates a marked drop in intensity for LED excitation below green. The fluorescence and absorption also increase as the glass caramelizes (browns) with further heat treatment (cooking). Recent literature has shown similar fluorescence in caramelized carbohydrates and sugars to be due to the production of carbon nanoparticles. We propose the experiment as a cross-disciplinary and open-ended investigation for an undergraduate lab in physics, chemistry or material science.
Abstract Type: Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: William R. Heffner
Lehigh University
7 Asa Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Phone: 610-758-6677
and Co-Presenter(s)
Donald Wright III, Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL

Presentation Documents

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster