Traditional fluorescent lamp

[ tl lamp ]

The fluorescent lamp is perhaps the best-known plasma source on earth. Fluorescent lamps in their present form have been commercially available since the early 1940s. It is the most energy-efficient lamp in the world that is used on a large scale, and as such it is the most often used man-made plasma.

From a physics point of view it has many interesting properties, such as thermal non-equilibrium, a non-Maxwellian electron energy distribution function (EEDF), and (obviously) significant radiation transport. Additionally, many important phenomena occur at the electrodes, were deposition and etching influence the decay of the electrodes.

The traditional standard fluorescent lamp has a cylindrical geometry with a diameter of about 38 mm. It contains 400 Pa of argon buffer gas, and mercury with a vapor pressure of 6 mTorr. The typical current through such a lamp is 400 mA. This leads to an absorbed electrical power of approximately 0.3 W/cm of which about 60% is converted into UV radiation. In turn, this radiation is absorbed and re-emitted as visible light by phosphors on the inside wall of the tube.

Further reading:

  1. A. Hartgers. Modelling of a Fluorescent Lamp Plasma. PhD thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, 2003. [ bib | .pdf ]
  2. A. Hartgers and J. A. M. van der Mullen. Modelling an ar-hg fluorescent lamp plasma using a 3 electron-temperature approximation. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 34(12):1907-1913, 2001. [ bib | http ]
  3. A. Hartgers, J. van Dijk, H.W.P. van der Heijden, and J.A.M. van der Mullen. The influence of de-maxwellization on a fluorescent lamp simulation. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 36:2269-2275, 2003. [ bib | http ]