Electroluminescent panels are thin laminated panels made with phosphor and glow when an electric current and high frequency are introduced. The panels are most often used for displaying art, advertising, costuming and even astrophotography. While they can be bought at most electronics outlets, others prefer to create their own, including Artem Kashkenov with his EL segment displays.
“It took me three whole months and a hundred samples before I started to get something bearable,” Kashkenov wrote in his project blog. “I think sometime later I will be able to write an already Comprehensive guide for the manufacture of homemade electroluminescence panels, with a detailed justification of all possible combinations of materials, but for now, I will limit myself to a description of the experiments carried out and the current results obtained of revealing the technology from the ’60s.”
The EL panel comes alive when an electric current is introduced. (📷: Artem Kashkenov)
Kashkenov used ITO glass with a conductive 10 to 20 Ohm resistance for the transparent layer to create his EL panels. The reverse side of the panel is the etched PCB that acts as the conductive layer, which was done using gold instead of lead or HASL to mitigate any interference between EL phosphor and the PCB coating. The emitting layer was created using ZnS phosphor or Zn2[SiO4] mixed with an epoxy resin that provides a dielectric constant from 7 to 10, which is then applied to the conductive layer of the panel.
Once dry, the panel is connected to a 100 to 300 V/400 to 1200 Hz power supply via leads connected to the conductive layer, and the etched image becomes illuminated. Kashkenov has uploaded a complete walkthrough of his EL panel for those who would like to recreate his build.