Abstract: A wide-ranging overview of room temperature phosphorescence in the liquid state (RTPL1) is presented, with a focus on recent developments. RTPL techniques like micelle-stabilized (MS)-RTP, cyclodextrin-induced (CD)-RTP, and heavy atom-induced (HAI)-RTP are discussed. These techniques are mainly applied in the stand-alone format, but coupling with some separation techniques appears to be feasible. Applications of direct, sensitized and quenched phosphorescence are also discussed. As regards sensitized and quenchedRTP, emphasis is on the coupling with liquid chromatography (LC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE), but stand-alone applications are also reported. Further, the application of RTPL in immunoassays and in RTP optosensing-the optical sensing of analytes based on RTP-is reviewed. Next to the application of RTPL in quantitative analysis, its use for the structural probing of protein conformations and for time-resolved microscopy of labelled biomolecules is discussed. Finally, an overview is presented of the various analytical techniques which are based on the closely related phenomenon of long-lived lanthanide luminescence. The paper closes with a short evaluation of the state-of-the-art in RTP and a discussion on future perspectives. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.