Electrical discharge lamp

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A type of lighting used since the begining of the 20th century in which a tube filled with an inert gas carrier (Neon, Argon, Helium, or Mercury) is excited by a high voltage arc. The arc produces a discharge which cause phosphors in the lamp to fluoresce. Neon gas glows red-orange, while mercury and argon glow blue and helium glows yellow. The difference between cold cathode lamps and fluorescent lamps is that the filament (cathode) in the fluorescent lamp is hot. Neon lamps, invented by Georges Claude about 1910, are small diameter cold cathode tubes filled with neon gas.

Synonyms and Related Terms

vapor lamp; vapour lamp; cold cathode; neon lamp; neon light; Leuchtstoffröhre (Deut.)

Resources and Citations

  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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