Backlighting is an essential part of many devices. From keypads and switches to human machine interfaces (HMIs) and touchscreens, backlighting, many devices feature backlighting. It’s responsible for illuminating the device with which it’s used. While all forms of backlighting generate illumination, though, some forms of backlighting work differently than others.

One of the most common forms of backlighting is electroluminescent (EL). EL backlighting is used in many of the same devices as light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting. What is EL backlighting exactly, and how does it work?

Overview of EL Backlighting

Also known as electroluminescent panel (ELP) backlighting, EL backlighting is characterized by the use of an electroluminescent material. It consists of a layer of electrouminescent material that, when exposed to an electrical current, generates illumination.

EL backlighting generates illumination — just like all other forms of backlighting. The way in which it generates illumination, of course, differs from other forms of backlighting. EL backlighting lives up to its namesake by leveraging an electroluminescent material. The EL material in the backlighting layer will produce light that illuminates the device with which it’s used.

The Mechanics of EL Backlighting

EL backlighting is defined by its use of an electroluminescent material. Electroluminescent materials are those that release photons when exposed to an electrical current. In other words, they illuminate as electricity flows through them. Phosphor is a common type of electroluminescent material. EL backlighting typically consists of a layer of phosphor, which generates illumination when exposed to an electrical current.

Devices with EL backlighting may feature a layer of phosphor compounds. This backlighting layer is located behind the pixel layer. When you turn on the device, an electrical current will be applied to the backlighting layer. The electrical current will stimulate the phosphor compounds while subsequently causing them to release photons.

Is EL Backlighting the Right Choice?

You might be wondering whether or not EL backlighting is the right choice for your device. When purchasing a device such as a keypad, switch or touchscreen, you may be able to choose from one of several backlighting solutions. Nonetheless, EL is an excellent all-around choice.

EL backlighting is long-lasting. They don’t burn out quickly. Instead, EL backlighting solutions can last for many years. EL backlighting is also energy efficient. It still needs to consume some energy to generate illumination, but EL backlighting is more energy-efficient than other common forms of backlighting.