Phosphorescent zinc sulfide

Preparation of glow in the dark powder (Zinc Sulfide)

Scientific name: Phosphorescent zinc sulfide prepared by oxidation of zinc with sulfur


Zinc Sulfide Glow in the Dark Powder

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Make Glow in the Dark Powder (Zinc Sulfide)


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How to make Zinc Sulfide

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Make Glow in the Dark Powder (ZnS)

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Wear eye protection goggles. Work away from flammable objects in a fume hood or outdoors.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

Zn + S → ZnS

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Put 4 g of zinc powder and 3 g of sulfur into a beaker.
  2. Gently mix the ingredients by slowly rotating the beaker.
  3. Put the mixture on the non-combustible surface.
  4. Activate the reaction. You can touch the pile of the mixture with red-hot metal.
  5. Observe the bright burning of the reaction mixture.
  6. After the reaction, collect the resulting zinc sulfide.
  7. Shine an ultraviolet lamp on zinc sulfide.
  8. Observe the glow of zinc sulfide.

Scientific background

Zinc is an easily oxidized metal. Despite the fact that sulfur is a weak oxidizing agent, the reaction between zinc and sulfur proceeds. However, activation is required for this process.

Zinc sulfide is one of the most common phosphorescent materials.

Phosphorescence is a special type of photoluminescence. Unlike fluorescent substance, a phosphorescent material emits absorbed energy at once. More time for re-emission is due to the banned by energy transitions in quantum mechanics. Due to the fact that these transitions occur rarely in the conventional materials, re-emission of absorbed radiation passes from a lower intensity, and for a long time (several hours). Luminescence of crystals depends on the presence of impurities, the energy levels of which can serve as the levels of absorption, intermediate or radiative levels.

The excitation light, an electric shock or a particle beam create the free electrons, holes and excitons in them. They can be captured by traps which are impurity atoms deposited on the crystal lattice defects. In this case, recombination (and illumination) of electrons and holes don't occur immediately, but after a long time, which would correspond to the duration of phosphorescence.


Published on 30 June 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst