A deuterium arc lamp
(or simply deuterium lamp
) is a low-pressure gas-discharge light source
often used in spectroscopy
when a continuous spectrum
in the ultraviolet
region is needed.
Principle of operation
A deuterium lamp uses a tungsten filament
and anode placed on opposite sides of a nickel
box structure designed to produce the best output spectrum. Unlike an incandescent bulb, the filament is not the source of light in deuterium lamps. Instead an arc is created from the filament to the anode, a similar process to arc lamps
. Because the filament must be very hot before it can operate, it is heated for approximately twenty seconds before use. Because the discharge process produces its own heat, the heater is turned down after discharge begins. Although firing voltages are 300 to 500 volts, once the arc is created voltages drop to around 100 to 200 volts.
The arc created excites the molecular deuterium contained within the bulb to a higher energy state. The deuterium then emits light as it transitions back to its initial state. This continuous cycle is the origin of the continuous ultraviolet radiation. This process is not the same as the process of decay of atomic excited states
), where electrons are excited and then emit radiation. Instead from the molecular emission
process, where radiative decay of excited states
, in this case of molecular deuterium (D<sub>2</sub>), causes the effect.
Because the lamp operates at... Read More