Electroluminescence (EL) is a backlighting technology that was first popularized in the 1980s. It works by sending an electric current through phosphorous that then emits light when charged.
While a mature technology, Electroluminescence is one of the best backlighting options for giving very even lighting across a large area. Like light guide films and fiber optics, the colors can be controlled via the printed overlay that covers the lit area so there are many options. A drawback to this is that EL is dependent on the color of the printed overlay, while light guide films and fiber optics have the option of changing colors by switching the LEDs used.
There are drawbacks that are also unique to electroluminescence. There is a half-life of the 4,000 before the phosphorus begins to degrade and the backlighting starts to dim. In addition, it requires a DC to AC power conversion which can be difficult with many designs. This typically means that it needs to be designed for from the very beginning and is not a last minute drop in feature. Lastly, it is an expensive option. Considering the limited life span of the backlighting solution and the price point of this mature technology, it is only a viable backlighting solution in very special cases. Most new designs are incorporating more advanced backlighting technologies.
To learn more, visit our webpage on backlighting or read our other blogs in this series: