Cold Cathode

Light Bulb Types

Definition

Cold cathode fluorescent lamps or CCFLs are a gas-discharge type of lamp just like CFLs and linear fluorescent lamps. These lamps are typically used for special applications like backlighting, signage and even cold weather lighting. They are highly regarded for their high efficiency, resistance to cold temperatures and their long life.

Manner of Operation

Cold cathode bulbs operate by channelling the electricity sent out through cathodes in order to excite the mercury vapours within the bulb. They also use inelastic scattering in order to produce fluorescence. This particular process in creating light is true for other fluorescent light bulbs like CFLs and Linear fluorescent light bulbs. The only thing that separates cold cathode light bulbs from the rest of its family members is that it does not need the cathode to get heated enough to start the process and create light.

Applications

As mentioned above, cold cathode lamps are typically used in various special applications. For many, the easiest and most identifiable application of cold cathode light bulb is the typical neon sign. Cold cathode tubes can also be incorporated to serve as backlight for signs and even on LCD displays. In fact, cold cathode tubes may also be responsible for allowing you to read off your computer screen right now.

In addition, cold cathode tubes are also available in spiral form just like the usual hot cathode fluorescent. CCFLs can also be incorporated in applications where it will need to be flashed or dimmed unlike most of the hot cathode bulbs. However, cold cathode bulbs are known to have a lesser light output compared to their cousins and are most likely to be used as a secondary light source in places where light is abundant or the amount of light is not an issue.

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