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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 7 Issue 4 (2002) pp 195-199

Electrochemical Light, From Laboratory Curiosity to Useful Analytical Technique

Mark M. Richter

Department of Chemistry, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65804
Received April 26, 2002. Accepted May 28, 2002

Published online: 5 July 2002

Abstract. Electrochemiluminescence (ECL) is the process where species generated at electrodes undergo electron-transfer reactions to form excited states that emit light. Application of a voltage to an electrode in the presence of an ECL luminophore such as Ru(bpy)32+ (where bpy = 2,2¢-bipyridine) or diphenylanthracene results in light emission and allows detection of the emitter at very low concentrations (£1012 mol dm3). By employing ECL-active species as labels on biological molecules, ECL has found commercial application for immunoassays and DNA analyses. The history of ECL is presented including the earliest, curiosity driven experiments and the development of ECL into an analytical technique for clinical diagnostic applications. The development and use of ECL sensors is an excellent example of how, over time, a laboratory curiosity can become a useful, powerful, and commercially viable technique.

Key Words:  In the Classroom; electro chemistry; analytic chemistry; physical chemistry; electrodes

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Issue date: August 2, 2002

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