Wikipedia states "Electroluminescence is an optical phenomenon and electrical phenomenon in which a material emits light in response to an electric current passed through it, or to a strong electric field." Electroluminescence (EL) is a means of generating light by the electrical excitation of light emitting phosphors, similar to how Plasma televisions are backlit today. In this case, the light emitting phosphors are located between two electrically conductive plates. Applying an alternating (A.C.) current activates the system producing light. At least one of the electrodes consists of a light transmissive conductive material allowing the light to escape.
What's interesting about application of EL is the substrate is crushable.
Electroluminescent devices are becoming more common in products sold today. Most people have seen the soft glowing EL night lights sold at drugstores along with quite a few novelty applications like this animated sign.
Today quite a bit of the manufacturing for EL is done in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Companies include COCHIEF , Shenzhen Guanxing Technology Co., Ltd, Nanjing Mocheng Technology Industry Co., Ltd., and Toppan Printing, CO., LTD.
This video shows one of the most common uses of EL. the dashboard in a car. Many automobiles on the market today use this technology to illuminate the dash panel in the dark.
EL is not new. The 1966 Dodge Charger instrument panel used electroluminescent lighting and Chrysler began building cars with EL panel lighting as early as the 1960 model year.
EL is available in the standard phosphor colors of Blue, Green, Blue-Green, Amber/Orange and mixed or blended White. Many additional colors can be achieved by adding dyes and filters to the active EL area.
Electroluminescent technologies have low power consumption compared to competing lighting technologies, such as neon or fluorescent lamps. This, together with the thinness of the material, has made EL technology valuable to the advertising industry. Relevant advertising applications include electroluminescent billboards and signs. EL manufacturers are able to control precisely which areas of an electroluminescent sheet illuminate, and when. This has given advertisers the ability to create more dynamic advertising which is still compatible with traditional advertising spaces.
EL lamps can be designed to have multiple segments. The segments can be active EL areas that light in designated patterns when activated. Other segments can contain unlit graphics. The screen print process allows almost infinite design flexibility, because different layers can be selectively printed as active or inactive areas.
This article from Geekologie has a whole bunch of EL applications in packaging and some cool movies too.
We invite manufactures of Electroluminescent lamps https://www.inventables.com/vendor_signup to post your EL products to the Inventables Marketplace to get sales leads worth your time.