Research: What's Luminescence?



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The spontaneous emission of light upon electronic excitation is called photoluminescence.
Luminescence is a rare phenomenon among inorganic compounds. This is due to the predominance of nonradiative relaxation processes. An electronic excitation of a complex or a metal center in a crystal usually ends up as vibrational energy and eventually as heat. In those cases where spontaneous light emission does occur, its spectral and temporal characteristics carry a lot of important information about the metastable emitting state and its relation to the ground state. Luminescence spectroscopy is thus a valuable tool to explore these properties. By studying the luminescence properties we can gain insight not only into the light emission process itself, but also into the competing nonradiative photophysical and photochemical processes.

Idea for picture: Ralph Schenker
Text adapted from: Thomas C. Brunold and Hans. U. Güdel, "Luminescence Spectroscopy", in "Inorganic Electronic Structure and Spectroscopy", E. I. Solomon, A. B. P. Lever (eds.), Wiley, New York, 259-306 (1999)

Last modified: 13.12.11 by Gabriela Frei