Luminescent Lunchbox: An Educational Kit for Teaching the Physics of Light

Invention Summary:

The Luminescent Lunchbox is an educational tool kit that illuminates the physics of light through exciting experiments with glow-in-the-dark food. The tool kit includes materials and instructions for four exciting lab experiments. The experiments involve the use of light with food and make it fun for students in grades K-12 to learn and understand photophysical concepts such as the electromagnetic spectrum, absorption of light and fluorescence, use of spectrofluorometers to identify the composition of solutions and the use of absorptive filters.

The Luminescent Lunchbox includes an activity guide with instructions necessary to conduct four photophysical-related activities (labs):

  • The “Light Show” - Explores the concepts of energy, frequency and wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum relating temperature to different colored LED light sources
  • Florescent Food Scavenger Hunt - Introduces the concept of fluorescence and its extensive occurrence in biological samples by photo-exciting food items with LED light sources and observing their fluorescence emission
  • Rainbow Ghosts - Creates a simple spectrofluorometer using a phone camera to display a rainbow that represents the kind of light emitted when food samples are photoexcited by different UV light sources
  • Shine Refine - Creates three gelatin absorptive filters, containing dyes that block light of specific wavelengths. By properly selecting and using these filters, clearer and sharper spectra from the 'Rainbow Ghosts' activity can be obtained because the filters effectively eliminate the contribution of the light source.

Market Applications:

  • Catalogs for educational toys and kits
  • Online sites for teaching aids, educational toys and kits


  • A fun and early introduction to physics of light that:
  • Serves as a sound foundation in science education that can benefit students as they progress from K-12
  • Inspires curiosity and interest in physics and light
  • Encourages students to pursue future study and careers in STEM fields
  • Provides exposure to laboratory tools and methodologies in diverse scientific fields ranging from genetics to cell biology to immunology to food science

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Available through license or distribution agreement.

Click here for licensing details

Patent Information:
Andrea Dick
Associate Director, Licensing
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey