Microwaves make bright car headlights

A set of headlights has been made using a novel lighting system that relies on microwaves exciting a plasma, and has been fitted to and tested on a BMW car at Silverstone


The technology, invented by Ceravision, based at Bletchley Park, depends on generating microwaves at 2.4GHz and focussing them on a small, glass ampoule, called a burner, containing a noble gas at low pressure and microgram quantities of selected metal halide salts. The microwave energy ionises the noble gas molecules to form a plasma, which vaporises the metal halide salts. The plasma and metal halide salts then combine to emit light.

The company claims that their lamps deliver more lumens per watt and more lumens per unit volume than competing technologies and with superior colour performance, which can be fine tuned by modification of the bulb chemistry Combinations are available that can deliver multiple variants of white light, monochrome light, UV or IR radiation.

More information from www.ceravision.com

Tom Shelley

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