Pulsed Optical Pumping in Low-Pressure Mercury Discharges

  • P. van de Weijer
  • R. M. M. Cremers
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIB, volume 149)


A good understanding of the fundamental processes occurring in the positive column of low-pressure mercury-noble-gas discharges is of practical interest because these discharges are used in fluorescent lamps (Elenbaas, 1959; Waymouth, 1971). In these lamps the light production is mainly due to mercury UV resonance radiation originating from the 6 3P1 and 6 1P1 levels at 254 and 185 nm, respectively (Fig. 1). This UV radiation is converted into visible radiation by a coating of fluorescent powder on the inside of the discharge tube. Once a mercury UV resonance photon has been produced in the volume of the discharge it is absorbed and re-emitted many times before it escapes from the discharge. Due to this process, called trapping or imprisonment, the effective radiative lifetime of the 6 3P1 and 6 1P1 level can be considerably longer than the natural radiative lifetime. The longer the effective radiative lifetime, the greater the possibility that the energy will be released via a non-radiative process. Thus, a detailed knowledge of the effective radiative lifetime of the 6 3P1 and 6 1P1 levels as a function of the discharge parameters may be of help in the development of more efficient fluorescent lamps.


Radiative Decay Discharge Tube Amplify Spontaneous Emission Radiative Lifetime Mercury Atom 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. van de Weijer
    • 1
  • R. M. M. Cremers
    • 1
  1. 1.Philips Research LaboratoriesEindhovenThe Netherlands

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