What is electroluminescence? - Definition from WhatIs.com



Part of the Electronics glossary:

Electroluminescence is a characteristic of a material, typically a semiconductor, that enables it to emit light in response to an electrical current or a strong electrical field.

The process behind electroluminescence is radiative recombination, also known as spontaneous emission. In radiative recombination, phosphorescent substances emit photons (light particles) in response to a small electrical current. Applications of electroluminescence include nightlights and automobile dashboard displays.

Other types of light generation include:

  • Incandescence, which occurs as a result of heat. 
  • Chemiluminescence, which occurs as a result of a chemical reaction. 
  • Sonoluminescence, which occurs as a result of sound. 
  • Mechanoluminescencether, which occurs as a result of a mechanical action.


This was last updated in December 2012
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • geo-fencing (geofencing)

    - Geo-fencing is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. A geofence is a virtual barr... (WhatIs.com)

  • quad-core processor

    - A quad-core processor is a chip with four independent units called cores that read and execute central processing unit (CPU) instructions such as add, move data, and branch. (WhatIs.com)

  • modulation

    - Modulation is the process of adding information to a steady waveform or to an electronic or optical carrier signal, usually applied to electromagnetic signals. (SearchNetworking.com)


  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About electroluminescencePowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.