Neon lights are trending nowadays because they are bright, colorful, and reliable. You will see neon signs in NY along with in-displays, and even on airport landing strips.
But have you ever wondered, how they work and how they produce different colors? Read this till the end to find out.
How Neon Light Works?
If you have a neon sign then you must know that it consists of glass tubes. These tubes are filled with a small amount of neon gas. Neon is used because it is a noble gas which is an un-reactive compound. There is an electrode at both ends of the tube. A neon light works using either AC or DC current. However, if DC current is used, the glow can only be seen around one electrode. That is the reason why most of the neon signs use AC current.
When an electric current is applied to the terminals, there is enough energy to remove an outer electron from the neon atoms. If there is not enough voltage then there will be not enough kinetic energy for the electrons to escape their atoms and nothing will happen. While the positively charged neon atoms are attracted to the negative terminal and the free electrons are attracted to the positive terminal. These charged particles are called plasma which completes the circuit of the lights.
However, the atoms in the tube are moving around and hitting each other. They transfer energy to each other along with a lot of heat. Due to this, electrons return to their original energy by releasing that energy in the form of light.
How Other Colors of Light are Produced?
If you are wondering how different lights are produced then there are 2 ways to do that. One is to use another gas or a mixture of gases to produce colors. For instance, if you want to get pink light then use helium gas, krypton for green, and argon for blue. If these gases are mixed, intermediate colors can be produced.
Another way to produce these colors is by coating the glass with a phosphor or other chemical that will glow a certain color when it is energized. Because of the range of coatings available, today’s lights no longer use neon instead use fluorescent lamps that rely on mercury/argon discharge and a phosphor coating. Although, if you see clear light that glows in color then it’s a noble gaslight.
There is another unofficial way to change the color of light which is not much used in light fixtures. This method uses the energy to control the supply of light. You could see one color per element but there are many different energy levels that can excite the electrons that can produce a spectrum of light.
History of Neon Lights
It was the Heinrich Geissler who first presented the idea of neon light in 1857. He was considered the Father of Fluorescent Lamp. His “Geissler Tuber” was basically a glass tube with electrodes at either end containing gas at partial vacuum pressure. The tube was the basis for the neon lights, mercury vapor lights, fluorescent lights, and more.
However, in 1902 George Claude derived a method to isolate neon from the air, making the light affordable. It was the George Claude who first demonstrated neon light in December 1910 at the Paris Motor Show.
If you are also fascinated by the working of neon and want a neon sign for your cafe or store then you should contact Vida Graphic and Signs right away as they offer custom made signs in NYC and nearby areas.