Electroluminescent (EL) lighting are flexible sheets, wires, sticks, etc. that uses electroluminescence to produce illumination. These devices emit light when a current passes through, or a strong electromagnetic field is applied. The light occurs because the current of field creates electron-hole pairs that release light when they recombine.
Electroluminescent lighting refers to cool, continuous, low-powered devices that cast a soft light without any glare. Its low-power consumption makes electroluminescent lighting a competitor of other technologies, like neon or fluorescent lighting. However, electroluminescent lighting devices are not negative resistance, and therefore do not require extra circuitry for current regulation like its competitors.
There are many different materials that are electroluminescent, and they are generally referred to as “electroluminescent materials” rather than their chemical names. Since it’s the material itself that produces the light, electroluminescent lighting is available in many forms, including: flexible sheets, wires, sticks, tapes, panels, terminals, decals, and more. Some types of electroluminescent lighting can produce animated effects such as flashing, blinking, or incremental lighting.
Benefits of electroluminescent lighting include flexibility, high visibility in darkness, smoke and fog, and at a distance; and being easy to look at without strain on the eye. Electroluminescent lighting is also land-fill friendly as it is made without hazardous materials. These materials are also filament-free to avoid breakage, and also maintenance free.
Electroluminescent lighting is commonly used in signs and accent lighting applications. It lighting is also used for automotive instrument panel backlighting, aircraft panel lighting, backlights for liquid crystal displays and cell phones, and in battery-operated devices like pages, wristwatches, nightlights, and more. The electroluminescent light in these applications may be any color, but are most commonly green, blue, or red. Green electroluminescent lighting is said to match the peak sensitivity of human vision and produce the greatest light output, while using minimal power input.
Technical specifications to consider when selecting electroluminescent lighting include applied voltage and frequency; operating temperature, current, and humidity; brightness, thickness, bend radius, heat resistance, and more.