One of the most widely used techniques to generate light through an efficient electron transfer is called electrochemiluminescence, or electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL). ECL mechanisms can be explored via ‘spooling spectroscopy’ in which individual ECL spectra showing emitted light are collected continuously during a potentiodynamic course.
The obtained spectra are spooled together and plotted along the applied potential axis; because the potential sweep occurs at a defined rate, this axis is directly proportional to time. Any changes in the emission spectra can be correlated to the corresponding potentials and/or times, leading to a deeper understanding of the mechanism for light generation—information that can be used for efficiently maximizing electrogenerated chemiluminescence intensities.
The formation of intermediates and excited states can also be tracked, which is crucial to interrogating and drawing electron transfer pathways (i.e., understanding the chemical reaction mechanism). Spooling spectroscopy is not limited to electrogenerated chemiluminescence; researchers also include instructions for the use of related methodologies, such as spooling photoluminescence spectroscopy during an electrolysis procedure, which can be easily set up.