Sunday, 24 November 2013

Fun with Jablonski diagrams

Kenneth Hanson over at Chemistry-Blog set his students the task of re-inventing the Jablonski diagram, a kind of schematic used in chemistry to show how molecules become excited and de-excited. Those processes drive things like phosphorescence ("glow in the dark") and fluorescence ("day-glo") and are really important to organic solar cells and organic LEDs. (If you've seen the first-generation PlayStation Vita's eye-popping display, you can thank the latter technology.) Having a good, clear way of conveying this information is important, which is why the Jablonski diagram has hung around for the best part of a century - it works!

To come up with their own versions, the students had to really understand what's going on behind the diagram, so this is a great teaching exercise. If you're at an early stage of your chemistry career, take it from me: nothing gets your brain going on a problem like trying to describe and explain it to someone else. Quite aside from that though, they're all really imaginative. I wish I could have a go on Jablinko.