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Electron-stimulated luminescence (ESL) is light produced by cathodoluminescence, i.e. by a beam of electrons made to hit a fluorescent phosphor surface. This is also the method used to produce light in a cathode ray tube (CRT), but, unlike CRTs, ESL lamps do not include magnetic or electrostatic means to deflect 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 a standard incandescent light bulb. Lifetimes can be as long as 10,000 hours, i.e. up to five times longer than that of an incandescent light bulb.
Drawbacks include a slightly larger-than-normal base and – as with compact fluorescent lamps – when switched on, a slight delay before illumination begins. As of 2015 the efficiency is roughly half that of commercially available LED bulbs, although it is considerably better than that of traditional incandescent lamps.
- Cathode ray tube (CRT)
- CRT projector
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