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. The light generation process is similar to a cathode ray tube (CRT) but lacks magnetic or electrostatic deflection.
A cathodoluminescent lighting system has a light emitting device having 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 also has a power supply for 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. Lifetimes can be as large as 10 000 hours, five times longer than an incandescent light bulb.
Incandescent bulbs produce light by heating a wire with current. A fluorescent lamp produces light by electrically exciting mercury vapor, which in turn radiates UV light towards a phosphor layer that converts the light into the visible spectrum.
ESL lamps do not use mercury in the lighting process 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 bulbs, with full dimmability. Drawbacks included a slightly larger-than-normal base (which favors newer recessed "can" installations) and a slight delay in illumination when switched on, similar to CFLs.
 See also
- 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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-  Patent application with description (filed 2008-02-05)