The next generation of lights: electrodeless

  • Florentine F
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The next generation of light sources has started to take form in the lighting world. This generation promises better light and long life with less energy. The unique feature of these systems lies in how light is produced. The lamps that we are all familiar with, primarily incandescent, heat the electrode, usually a piece of metal until it incandesces, or "glows", producing light. Lamp burn-out is usually associated with the electrode failing, or breaking. The new generation replaces the weakest link in the chain--the electrode-- and produces visible light with some innovative techniques. Some use radio frequencies to excite a coil while others use microwave energy directed at the element sulfur to produce the visible light. The new sources, spurred by demands for better quality electric lights using less energy, will slowly but surely penetrate our daily and professional lives. Transferring this technology to the museum and art gallery lighting may take a little time, but eventually it will happen. The benefits are many and the applications at this point in the development of the new sources, need careful planning. The new light sources usually have high lumen output, producing lots of illumination or lux . The light emitted from one of these sulfur bulbs is equal to over 250 standard 100 watt incandescent lamps. This means that it would require only a few of these sources to provide quality ambient light in a gallery while contributing very little to the heating load. The quality could enhance the colors of the art work, balancing the red portions of the spectrum, the "incandescent look", with other portions of the spectrum, the "daylight" look. Finally, the maintenance would be reduced considerably, ensuring a safer environment for the artifacts.

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