Fluorescent Lamps

Ionisation and excitation in the fluorescent tube.

 

1. Fluorescent Lamps

A glass tube is filled with mercury vapour at a low pressure. When excited by electrons the mercury atoms become ionised, losing an electron. As the electron returns to its ground state, it then emits an ultraviolet photon. A phosphor coating on the inside of the tube then absorbs the UV photon, finally emitting a range of visible photons which we see as white light.