By Paloma Carden
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Extra info for Advances In Energy Conservation
In the United States, a CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but can save over US$40 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime. Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury, which complicates their disposal. CFLs radiate a different light spectrum from that of incandescent lamps. Improved phosphor formulations have improved the perceived color of the light emitted by CFLs such that some sources rate the best 'soft white' CFLs as subjectively similar in color to standard incandescent lamps.
Cold cathode lamps Most fluorescent lamps use electrodes that operate in thermionic emission mode, meaning they are operated at a high enough temperature for the chosen material (normally a special coating) to liberate electrons across to the gas-fill by heat. However, there are also tubes that operate in cold cathode mode, whereby electrons are liberated only by the level of potential difference provided. This doesn't mean the electrodes are cold (and indeed, they can be very hot), but it does mean they are operating below their thermionic emission temperature.
This quality makes them desirable for maintenance-free long-life applications (such as LCD backlight displays). g. into an internal cylinder) to capture most of the sputtered material so it isn't lost from the electrode. Cold cathode lamps are generally less efficient than thermionic emission lamps because the cathode fall voltage is much higher. The increased fall voltage results in more power dissipation at tube ends, which doesn't contribute to light output. However, this is less significant with longer tubes.