By Paloma Carden
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Extra info for Advances In Energy Conservation
3% of atmospheric pressure. The inner surface of the bulb is coated with a fluorescent (and often slightly phosphorescent) coating made of varying blends of metallic and rare-earth phosphor salts. The bulb's electrodes are typically made of coiled tungsten and usually referred to as cathodes because of their prime function of emitting electrons. For this, they are coated with a mixture of barium, strontium and calcium oxides chosen to have a low thermionic emission temperature. The unfiltered ultraviolet glow of a germicidal lamp is produced by a low pressure mercury vapor discharge (identical to that in a fluorescent lamp) in an uncoated fused quartz envelope.
If a so-called "two-photon" phosphor could be developed, this would improve the efficiency but much research has not yet found such a system. Cold cathode lamps Most fluorescent lamps use electrodes that operate in thermionic emission mode, meaning they are operated at a high enough temperature for the chosen material (normally a special coating) to liberate electrons across to the gas-fill by heat. However, there are also tubes that operate in cold cathode mode, whereby electrons are liberated only by the level of potential difference provided.
Since mercury condenses at the coolest spot in the lamp, careful design is required to maintain that spot at the optimum temperature, around 40 °C. By using an amalgam with some other metal, the vapor pressure is reduced and the optimum temperature range extended upward; however, the bulb wall "cold spot" temperature must still be controlled to prevent migration of the mercury out of the amalgam and condensing on the cold spot. Fluorescent lamps intended for higher output will have structural features such as a deformed tube or internal heat-sinks to control cold spot temperature and mercury distribution.
Advances In Energy Conservation by Paloma Carden