Neon glow lamp
Makulec, Alfred Formerly, Large Lamp Department, General Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
El-Hawary, Mohamed Faculty of Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A low-wattage lamp often used as an electronic circuit component. Neon glow lamps (also called neon lamps) were very common in the displays of electronic instruments through the 1970s. A neon lamp usually consists of a pair of electrodes sealed within a glass capsule containing neon gas at a low pressure. The luminous region of the gas is a thin, “negative glow” region immediately adjacent to a negatively charged electrode (or “cathode”); the positively charged electrode (“anode”) is quite close to the cathode. Some of the smaller bulbs are equipped with wire leads that are connected directly to the electrical supply circuit; others are equipped with conventional bases that vary with the size of the lamps (see illustration). For signage, much longer and brighter neon tubes are used. A second technology for neon lighting, the miniature neon glow lamp, was developed about seven years after neon-tube lighting. The technology of the neon glow lamp developed into contemporary plasma displays and televisions. Miniature neon indicator lamps acting as glow discharge detectors (GDDs) are candidates to serve as very inexpensive room-temperature terahertz radiation detectors and as pixels in terahertz imaging systems.
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