Electroluminescence?

EL Wire SpiralBy now, many of us have seen the new cool glowing wire known as EL Wire.

What does the EL stand for? Well Electroluminescence of course! So what exactly is Electroluminescence anyways?

Electroluminescence is the scientific term used when a material emits light when an electrical current is passed through it. Most common EL (Electroluminescent) devices are composed of either a powder or thin films. In the case of EL wire, a thin film is encased within the wire itself and when an electrical current passes through it, it begins to light up with a bright, cool glowing effect!

What a cool new invention!

Well, new is not exactly accurate. General Electric has patents dating back to the 1930s regarding Electroluminescent technologies and has been used as automotive instrument back-lighting for decades. Even your LCD Computer Monitor uses a Electroluminescent technology as the back-lighting is a powder phosphor-based panel that transmits light when a current is passed through it.

So, EL technologies have been around a while, your probably just starting to hear the term used more due to modern advancements in battery technologies and portable lighting devices are becoming more widespread. This allows the EL technology to be used in mobile lighting and novelty entertainment devices much more readily.

Check out the wikipedia article on Electroluminescence for more information!

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