Electrochemical processes leading to light emission are reviewed, with emphasis on aspects of this subject relevant to the understanding and optimization of electrogenerated luminescence (EL) in organic thin-film materials. The basic energetic requirements of light emission from electrochemically initiated solution redox reactions [electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL)] are reviewed first. This review is followed by a discussion of light-emitting electrochemical processes that have been observed in hybrids of ionically conducting polymers and electronically conducting polymers. Finally, the features of EL in insulating polymers and molecular thin films are reviewed, along with recent electrochemical and ECL studies of the small-molecule components of certain organic light-emitting diodes. These studies provide a conceptual framework for understanding and optimizing these materials and the EL process.
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