C8H7N3O2 – luminol – is a white or pale-yellow crystalline solid capable of chemiluminescence (producing light via a chemical reaction). When luminol reacts with an oxidizing agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, in the presence of a catalyst, such as iron ions or copper ions, it forms an excited (high-energy) intermediate. In returning to its ground state, this intermediate breaks down, releasing some of its energy as light. The resulting bluish glow lasts for about 30 seconds. Forensic investigators take advantage of this characteristic to detect trace amounts of blood at crime scenes. They spray a suspicious area with a solution containing luminol, turn out all the lights and block the windows, and look for a bluish-green glow. Since red blood cells contain iron, any traces of blood in the treated area will cause the luminol to glow. Additionally, biologists use luminol in cellular assays to detect copper, iron, cyanides, and specific proteins.