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Alternating current thin film electroluminescent devices have been fabricated using sputter-deposited ZnS:Mn with and without codoped potassium chloride via both in situ and ex situ methods. In situ codoping proved to be difficult due to a memory effect in the deposition chamber. Samples codoped with potassium chloride via an ex situ diffusion method exhibited improvements in brightness of up to 70% (572 vs 337 cd/m2) and efficiency of up to 60% (1.95 vs 1.25 lm/W) over noncodoped samples. The threshold voltage increased by ≈5% (160 vs 168 V), and the brightness-versus-voltage curve stabilized more rapidly for the devices. Several possible mechanisms to explain these effects are discussed. While modest microstructural changes contribute to the improvements, changes in point defects which lead to modification of the space charge in the devices appears to be the dominant mechanism. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.