What is Cold Cathode Technology?
Cold Cathode technology was
developed over seventy years ago and was the first commercially available form of fluorescent
lighting. It is probably most familiar for its use in backlighting the LCD
displays of televisions and laptop screens, as well as customised
Cold Cathode operates on the same principle as regular
fluorescent tubes in that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The
excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then
causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light.
The term Cold Cathode refers to the fact that the cathode is not independently heated, but instead operates at a much higher voltage to cause the same excitement in the mercury vapour rather than the thermionic emission that regular fluorescents use.
The removal of the need to heat the tube allows Cold Cathode to be instant on and provide virtually unlimited switching (~1million on/off cycles) without degradation of the lamps. Without the need for precise electrode temperature the Cold Cathode lamp can be operated at any desired brightness up to their maximum rating so Cold Cathode lamps can be dimmed to any point without damage.
A guide to Cold Cathode Lighting can be downloaded here.
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