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chemiluminescence

[kem-uh-loo-muh-nes-uh ns] /ˌkɛm əˌlu məˈnɛs əns/
noun
1.
(in chemical reactions) the emission of light by an atom or molecule that is in an excited state.
Origin
1900-1905
1900-05; chemi- + luminescence
Related forms
chemiluminescent, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for chemiluminescence
  • The visible light of a candle flame is caused by two different processes: incandescence and chemiluminescence.
British Dictionary definitions for chemiluminescence

chemiluminescence

/ˌkɛmɪˌluːmɪˈnɛsəns/
noun
1.
the phenomenon in which a chemical reaction leads to the emission of light without incandescence
Derived Forms
chemiluminescent, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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chemiluminescence in Science
chemiluminescence
  (kěm'ə-l'mə-něs'əns)   
The emission of light by a substance as a result of undergoing a chemical reaction that does not involve an increase in its temperature. Chemiluminescence usually occurs when a highly oxidized molecule, such as a peroxide, reacts with another molecule. The bond between the two oxygen atoms in a peroxide is relatively weak, and when it breaks the atoms must reorganize themselves, releasing energy in the form of light. Compare bioluminescence.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for chemiluminescence

emission of electromagnetic radiation during the course of chemical reactions. Such radiation, whether ultraviolet, visible, or infrared, is most commonly generated by oxidation. The radiation can usually be ascribed to the transfer of the oxidation energy to a molecule that is itself not undergoing oxidation. This molecule then loses the excitation energy by emitting light of the proper wavelength. A large number of substances (e.g., formaldehyde, paraldehyde, acrolein, lophine, glucose, lecithin, and cholesterol) luminesce if slowly oxidized in alcoholic alkaline solution. Another group of chemiluminescences is connected with the oxidation of sulfur compounds. The widespread luminescence of such living organisms as fireflies and bacteria is based on the oxidation of luciferin in the presence of an enzyme, luciferase. Chemiluminescence that occurs in living organisms is called bioluminescence (q.v.).

Learn more about chemiluminescence with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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