Luminescence is a collective term for numerous phenomena that are characterized by excited states of electrons that result in the emission of light. When excited electrons relax into their thermodynamically preferred state, photons are emitted. The term of chemiluminescence (CL) refers to luminescence based on chemical reactions, e.g. where chemical energy is converted to light emissions. This phenomenon was initially observed by Sir Robert Boyle, and generally referred to oxiluminescence. Only in recent years has the measurement of such emissions been successfully used to provide evidence of oxidative decay among organic substances.

The following paragraphs will provide basic mechanisms that dictate chemiluminescence reactions.

The CL-method is characterized by several extremely useful analytic properties. These include the use of minimal amounts of sample (≥ 0.1 mg), the high sensitivity and that results are unaltered by side reactions. The application potential of chemiluminescence is enormous – this method is particularly suitable to characterize oxidative reactions, thermal decay, stability, efficiency assessment of stabilizers (qualitative and quantitative), determination of activation parameters and the prognosis of life expectancy. The extraordinary sensitivity of the CL method allows examining oxidative decay reactions at moderate temperatures. This decreases the probability to observe secondary phase transition (softening, melting, changes in modification etc.) that commonly distort results obtained by conventional thermo-analytical method.

Properties and benefits:

  • exceptional high sensitivity
  • moderate temperature profiles (< 95°C) allow conditioning of experimental atmosphere with humidity as modulator of degradation
  • very small sample size
  • CL emissions not overlaid by side reactions
  • quantification of hydro-peroxides (to establish state of ageing)
  • determination of the oxidation kinetics in solids and liquids
  • measurement of surface oxidation
  • resolution of heterogeneous character of oxidative decay reactions
  • lifetime prognosis based on modeling using experimental data
Chemiluminescence reaction in solution: Luminol oxidation with hydrogen peroxide in presence of iron- or manganese ions.

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