[ kem-uh-loo-muh-nes-uh ns ]
/ ˌkɛm əˌlu məˈnɛs əns /


(in chemical reactions) the emission of light by an atom or molecule that is in an excited state.

Origin of chemiluminescence

First recorded in 1900–05; chemi- + luminescence

OTHER WORDS FROM chemiluminescence

chem·i·lu·mi·nes·cent, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for chemiluminescence

  • Moreover, as we have seen, chemiluminescence is essentially an oxyluminescence, since oxygen is necessary for the reaction.

British Dictionary definitions for chemiluminescence

/ (ˌkɛmɪˌluːmɪˈnɛsəns) /


the phenomenon in which a chemical reaction leads to the emission of light without incandescence

Derived forms of chemiluminescence

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

Scientific definitions for chemiluminescence

[ kĕm′ə-lōō′mə-nĕsəns ]

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.