Fractoluminescence is light emission caused by breaking, scratching, tearing apart. As in other cases of mechanically triggered luminescences, the link between cause and emission is mostly indirect.


The sugar saccharose consists of crystals, and breaking or grinding of these crystals separates electric charges. The voltage may become high enough to form an arc discharge that is visible as short flash. Hence, not the crystals emit the light but nitrogen molecules in the air that become excited by the arc discharge. The photo here displays sugar in a blender. The highest light intensity is given off where the mechanical stress is most intense, which is where the blades rotate.

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