Definitions for gas-discharge lamp

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Princeton's WordNet

  1. electric-discharge lamp, gas-discharge lamp(noun)

    an electric lamp in which the light comes from an electric discharge between two electrodes in a glass tube

Freebase

  1. Gas-discharge lamp

    Gas-discharge lamps are a family of artificial light sources that generate light by sending an electrical discharge through an ionized gas, a plasma. The character of the gas discharge depends on the pressure of the gas as well as the frequency of the current: see the entry on a frequency classification of plasmas. Typically, such lamps use a noble gas or a mixture of these gases. Most lamps are filled with additional materials, like mercury, sodium, and metal halides. In operation the gas is ionized, and free electrons, accelerated by the electrical field in the tube, collide with gas and metal atoms. Some electrons in the atomic orbitals of these atoms are excited by these collisions to a higher energy state. When the excited atom falls back to a lower energy state, it emits a photon of a characteristic energy, resulting in infrared, visible light, or ultraviolet radiation. Some lamps convert the ultraviolet radiation to visible light with a fluorescent coating on the inside of the lamp's glass surface. The fluorescent lamp is perhaps the best known gas-discharge lamp. Compared with incandescent lamp and even with LED lighting, gas-discharge lamps offer longer life and higher efficiency, but are more complicated to manufacture, and require auxiliary electronic equipment such as ballasts to control current flow through the gas. Some gas-discharge lamps also have a perceivable start-up time to achieve their full light output. Still, due to their greater efficiency, gas-discharge lamps are replacing incandescent lights in many lighting applications.

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