Illuminating world of sodium-vapor lamps, a significant player in the realm of gas-discharge lighting. These lamps capitalize on sodium in an excited state, emitting light at a distinct wavelength around 589 nm.
These lamps manifest in two primary variations: low pressure and high pressure. Low-pressure sodium lamps, distinguished for their exceptional electrical efficiency, predominantly find application in outdoor settings, particularly in street lighting, owing to their characteristic yellow light. On the other hand, high-pressure sodium lamps emit a broader light spectrum but fall short in color rendering compared to other lamp types. Despite their efficiency, low-pressure sodium lamps, emitting monochromatic yellow light, restrain color vision in nocturnal settings.
The genesis of low-pressure sodium arc discharge lamps dates back to the early 1920s, marked by advancements in glass technology that could withstand the corrosive effects of sodium vapor. These lamps primarily emitted a monochromatic light within the sodium emission lines, limiting their application to settings where color vision was non-essential.
Advancements in high-pressure sodium lamps were catalyzed through research in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Increasing sodium vapor pressure broadened the emission spectrum, necessitating novel materials due to the corrosive nature of high-pressure sodium vapor. General Electric’s innovation with sintered aluminum oxide, complemented by specific sealing techniques, marked a pivotal step toward commercial high-pressure sodium lamps in 1965.
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