Electron stimulated luminescence
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Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL) is light produced by accelerated electrons hitting a phosphor (fluorescent) surface in a process known as cathodoluminescence. This is the process of light generation in a cathode ray tube (CRT) display, but lamps are built without magnetic or electrostatic deflection of the electron beam.
A cathodoluminescent light has a transparent glass envelope coated on the inside with a light-emitting phosphor layer. Electrons emitted from a cathode strike the phosphor; the current returns through a transparent conductive coating on the envelope. The phosphor layer emits light through the transparent face of the envelope. The system has a power supply providing at least five thousand volts to the light emitting device, and the electrons transiting from cathode to anode are essentially unfocused. Additional circuits allow triac-type dimmers to control the light level. Lights produced so far have a color rendering index of 85. The energy consumption can be 70% less than that of an incandescent light bulb, which produces light by heating a thin filament to incandescence. Lifetimes can be as long as 10,000 hours, five times longer than an incandescent light bulb's.
ESL lamps do not use mercury like fluorescent lamps which produce light by electrically exciting mercury vapor, which in turn radiates UV light towards a phosphor layer that converts the light into the visible spectrum. The first commercially available ESL product was a reflector bulb. A standard pear shaped light bulb is planned for 2013, for the European and Middle East markets.
Independent product testing suggests ESL boasts better light quality than both LED and CFL, with full dimmability. Drawbacks include a slightly larger-than-normal base (which favors newer recessed "can" installations) and a slight delay in illumination when switched on, similar to CFLs.
- CRT projector
- Cathode ray tube (CRT)
- Electroluminescent display (ELD) - Light through electric current
- Fluorescent lamp - Light through excited atoms in a plasma
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- greenprophet.com - Are ESLs A Mercury-Free Replacement for CFL Lights? | Green Prophet, 2012-03-12
- "The Promise of a Better Light Bulb?". The New York Times. 9 April 2009.
- "Newest Lightbulb Tech Combines Advantages of Incandescent, Fluorescent, and LED". 100902 popsci.com
- ""Will ESL Light Bulbs Beat LEDs?"". Forbes.
-  Patent application with description (filed 2008-02-05)