RE- Florecant Light
From: Robert Michaels[SMTP:robert.michaels-at-online.sme-dot-org]
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 1997 3:22 AM
Subject: RE- Florecant Light
TL>Subject: Florecant Light
TL>This is my first post so I hope it gets there :)
TL>I was wondering why florecant lights glow when placed by a plasma globe
TL>or tesla coil? I think it is because of the RF exciting the gas. I would
TL>appreciate a somewhat detailed answer(sort of an explanation of why).
Your name may be "Deepfrezz" but your spelling is none
too cool -- nor your grasp of basic physics, either.
Tesla coils and plasma globes emit energy in the
form radio-frequency (rf) electromagnetic waves.
The power supply within a commercial plasma
globe is essentially a Tesla (or Tesla-like
The geometry of many atoms and molecules is such that
they can absorb rf energy.
In this, the molecules resemble the antenna
of a radio receiver -- which can absorb rf
energy emitted by radio transmitters.
When an atom/molecule absorbs energy it is raise to
an excited state above ground level. This excited
state is unstable. Sooner or later the molecule
spontaneously returns to the ground state.
When the excited atom/molecule returns to its ground
state it must relinquish the energy which it absorbed
in the first place.
The relinquished energy invariably is in the form of
a photon (or photons).
It is the nature of the mercury vapor within fluorescent
lamps to emit photons which have an energy level (or
wavelength) corresponding to ultra-violet light.
When the phosphor coating within the fluorescent lamp
is impacted by these ultra-violet photons, the phos-
phor coating is itself raised to an excited state.
Within a short period (micro-to-milliseconds) the excited
phosphors return to their ground state relinquishing
the same amount of energy as they absorbed. This time
the energy is in the photons which have energy levels
(wavelengths) within the range known as visible light.
When such photons impact the eye, they generate nerve
impulses which the brain interprets as the sensation