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Fluoro-Phone Fluorescence Kit
See fluorescence using any regular camera, or camera-containing device such as a smartphone. This easy-to-use Fluoro-Phone kit includes
- an ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diode (LED) bulb that can be threaded into any standard 120 Volt/60 Watt lamp outlet
- a custom-cut piece of G-550 green filter glass
- a Velcro dot for easy attachment and removal, and
- 1 gram of safe and easy-to-use fluorescent chemical fluorescein.
The picture to the right was taken with a cell phone camera. It shows the green glow emitted from a solution illuminated by the UV bulb.
It's a kit for fun. It's up to you to make discoveries and solve mysteries. You may get some ideas from watching these YouTube videos.
Here is a photo of the parts in the kit: the UV light, the green filter and Velcro dot, and the fluorescein.
How to use
Install the bulb
Simply screw LED bulb into any standard lamp socket. A desk lamp with a bendable neck will work well.
Mount the filter
Use the adhesive Velcro dot to attach the green filter over the lens of your camera device. The location and size of the dot can be modified to match almost any device. For reference here this is shown with a Droid Incredible however most smart phones can be modified using this technique.
Now your Fluoro-Phone is ready to use.
When not in use, simply remove the filter leaving the phone open for other uses and normal photography. The small Velcro dot does not generate much difficulty when handling the phone for calls, emails, and other uses.
To use the Fluoro-Phone for imaging
A little goes a long way
The fluorescein is included as a sample for targeting. The current Fluoro-Phone-FITC kit will allow imaging of any material which absorbs in the ~400 nanometer (UV/blue) spectrum and emits in the ~500 nm (green) spectrum. The fluorescein can be easily dissolved in 70% isopropyl alcohol (sold in stores as “rubbing alcohol”).
You will not need the entire gram to make a solution, a little fluorescein goes a long way. Just a few powder particles in about 5 milliliters (1 tablespoon) of alcohol will make a nicely fluorescent solution.
Use the fluorescent solution as it is, or use it to “write” on paper or any other material to leave a fluorescent trail. In most cases under room lights this won't show up, but under fluorescent settings it will be easily seen.
Don't stare at the light
Turn on the light taking care not to look at it directly and focus it onto your test article. Turn the “flash” feature on your phone off and hold it so that it can image the object without blocking the UV light. For clarity the image below was taken with the room lights on, however performance is greatly enhanced if imaging is done in the dark with all lights except the UV bulb off.
Fluoro-Phone in Use
The whole kit is visible below. The inset shows the glow of coumarin-6 six dye injected into a piece of cow's tongue. The main shot shows the dye still in the syringe, with illumination from both the room light and the UV light. You can also see the filter in place over the phone's camera lens.