Leventis, Nicholas Department of Chemistry, University of Missouri, Rolla, Missouri.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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Self-contained, hermetically sealed, two-electrode electrolytic cells that change their ability to transmit (or reflect) light in response to a small bias (typically 1–2 V) applied across the two electrodes. The operation of electrochromic devices relies upon their electrochromic material content. These materials are organic or inorganic substances that are able to interconvert between two or more color states upon oxidation or reduction, that is, upon electrolytic loss or gain of electrons. The electrochromic materials that are appropriate for most practical applications are strong light absorbers in one redox state but colorless in another. Historically, the phenomenon of electrochromism based on physical phenomena, such as the Franz-Keldish and Stark effects, dates back to 1932. Since the mid-1970s, however, development has been focused on color changes carried out electrochemically, so that in modern usage the terms electrochromic devices and materials refer to devices and substances defined above. See also: Stark effect
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