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Encyclopedia > Plasma lamp
A plasma lamp
A plasma lamp

Plasma lamps (also variously plasma globes, balls, domes, spheres, or orbs) are novelty items which were most popular in the 1980s. The plasma lamp was invented by Nikola Tesla after his experimentation with high frequency currents in an evacuated glass tube for the purpose of studying high voltage phenomena. Tesla called this invention an Inert Gas Discharge Tube. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1589x1609, 1106 KB) Khamis R A A plasma lamp. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1589x1609, 1106 KB) Khamis R A A plasma lamp. ... A plasma lamp, illustrating some of the more complex phenomena of a plasma, including filamentation. ... A novelty is a small manufactured adornment, especially a personal adornment. ... The 1980s refers to the years of 1980 to 1989. ... Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)[1] was a world-renowned Serbian inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer. ... Electric current is by definition the flow of electric charge. ... In electronics, a vacuum tube or (outside North America) thermionic valve or just valve, is a device generally used to amplify, switch or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ... In electrical engineering High voltage refers to a voltage which is high. ... An inert gas is any gas that is not reactive under normal circumstances. ...

Contents

Description

The effect of a conducting object (such as a hand) in close proximity to the plasma globe glass
The effect of a conducting object (such as a hand) in close proximity to the plasma globe glass
The central electrode of a plasma globe
The central electrode of a plasma globe

Plasma lamps are available in different shapes, including spheres and cylinders. Although there are many variations, a plasma lamp is usually a clear glass orb, filled with a mixture of various gases at low pressure, and driven by high frequency alternating current at high voltage (approx. 35kHz, 2-5kV), generated by a high voltage transformer. A much smaller orb in its center serves as an electrode. Beams or snakes of "light" (actually emergent patterns in ionized gas) extend from the inner electrode to the outer glass container, giving an appearance similar to multiple constant beams of coloured lightning (see corona discharge and electric glow discharge). The beams first follow the electric field lines of the dipole, but move up due to convection. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x710, 90 KB) Summary A photo of myself touching the plasma globe. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x710, 90 KB) Summary A photo of myself touching the plasma globe. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (978x768, 119 KB)Plasma Lamp PiccoloNamek July 8, 2005 22:21 (UTC) I, PiccoloNamek, took this picture. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (978x768, 119 KB)Plasma Lamp PiccoloNamek July 8, 2005 22:21 (UTC) I, PiccoloNamek, took this picture. ... City lights viewed in a motion blurred exposure. ... The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the SI unit of frequency. ... Josephson junction array chip developed by NIST as a standard volt. ... For other uses, see transformers. ... An electrode is a conductor used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit (e. ... A termite cathedral mound produced by a termite colony: a classic example of emergence in nature. ... Multivalent redirects here. ... In electricity, a corona discharge is an electrical discharge brought on by the ionization of a fluid surrounding a conductor, which occurs when the potential gradient exceeds a certain value, in situations where sparking (also known as arcing) is not favoured. ... now. ... The Earths magnetic field, which is approximately a dipole. ... Convection is the internal movement of currents within fluids (i. ...


Placing a hand near the glass alters the high-frequency electric field, causing a single beam to migrate from the inner ball to the point of contact. An electric current is produced within any conductive object near the orb, as the glass doesn't block the flow of current when high frequencies are involved; the glass acts as the dielectric in a capacitor formed between the ionized gas and the hand. It has been suggested that optical field be merged into this article or section. ... In electricity, current refers to electric current, which is the flow of electric charge. ... Sine waves of various frequencies; the bottom waves have higher frequencies than those above. ... A dielectric, or electrical insulator, is a substance that is highly resistant to electric current. ... Capacitors: SMD ceramic at top left; SMD tantalum at bottom left; through-hole tantalum at top right; through-hole electrolytic at bottom right. ...


Warning

One should be careful when placing electronic devices (such as a computer mouse) nearby or upon the plasma lamp: not only may the glass become hot, but the high voltage may place a substantial static charge into the device, even through a protective plastic casing. The radio frequency field produced by plasma lamps can interfere with the operation of touch pads used on laptop computers, digital audio players, and other similar devices. Additionally, when a metal is placed on the surface of a plasma lamp's glass, a danger of shock and burning does exist; it is very easy for electricity to be emitted from the lamp if said metal comes in contact or close proximity with certain other materials, including human tissue. Electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interaction. ... Rough plot of Earths atmospheric transmittance (or opacity) to various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, including radio waves. ... Laptop with touchpad. ... Apple iPod, the most popular hard drive-based digital audio player An embedded hard drive-based player (Creative Zen Vision:M), one of the many alternatives for the iPod An MP3 CD player (Philips Expanium) Some mobile phones can be used as digital audio players, such as the Nokia 6233. ...


Ozone may also accumulate near the surface of the glass orb after a few minutes of constant operation. It accumulates at an accelerated rate if a hand or metal object is placed on the glass. For other uses, see Ozone (disambiguation). ...


History

In U.S. Patent 0514170  ("Incandescent Electric Light", 1894 February 6), Nikola Tesla describes a plasma lamp. This patent is for one of the first high intensity discharge lamps. Tesla took an incandescent type lamp globe with the suspended conductive element and excited the element with high voltage currents from a Tesla coil, thus creating the brush discharge emanation. He gains patent protection on the particular forms of the lamp in which a light giving small body or button of refractatory material is supported by a conductor entering a very highly exhausted globe or receiver. Tesla later called this invention an "Inert Gas Discharge Tube". Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)[1] was a world-renowned Serbian inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer. ... Tesla Coil at Questacon, the Australian National Science Centre museum A Tesla coil is a category of disruptive discharge transformer coils, named after their inventor, Nikola Tesla. ...


The popular product sold throughout the world today was invented by the artist Bill Parker, while an undergraduate student at MIT. Later he developed it into the now ubiquitous product while he was an Artist in Residence at the Exploratorium science museum. The technology needed to carefully formulate gas mixtures used in today's plasma spheres, primarily combinations of high purity rare gases, was not available to Tesla. These gas mixtures, glass shapes and integrated circuit driven electronics used to create the vivid colors, range of motions and complex patterns seen in today's plasma spheres were all developed and patented by Bill Parker in the 1980s and 1990s. The lamps typically contain xenon, krypton and/or neon, though a number of other gases can be used as well. Bill Parker was an undergraduate at MIT when he invented the plasma lamp. ... The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private, coeducational research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... Smoke billows at the exploratorium The Exploratorium is a public science museum located in the Marina District at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California. ... General Name, Symbol, Number xenon, Xe, 54 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 5, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 131. ... General Name, Symbol, Number krypton, Kr, 36 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 4, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 83. ... General Name, Symbol, Number neon, Ne, 10 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 2, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 20. ...


Bill Parker's company Advance Independent Research Laboratories (AIR Labs) was the cornerstone of his business and placed the Light Sculpture in the Sharper Image catalog selling an edition of 988. Bill's brother Jeff Parker directed the operations and is credited with Bill's financial success in the middle 80's. The company continued to create unique and limited editions of the Light Sculpture in agreement with the Circle Fine Art Galleries.


Applications

Plasma lamps are mainly used as curiosities or toys for their unique lighting effects and the 'tricks' that can be performed on them by moving the hands around them. They might also form part of a school's laboratory equipment for demonstration purposes. They are not usually employed for general lighting.


Uses in popular culture

In addition, plasma balls and their variations have been employed as props and sources for special effects for science fiction television shows. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A television program is the content of television broadcasting. ...


Among the first appearances was the pilot for the Greatest American Hero (March 1981), where two plasma balls appeared in the sky as a prelude to the arrival of an alien spaceship, the plasma balls reappeared in subsequent episodes featuring contact with the craft. A ball featured in the opening credits of The Man with Two Brains (1983). A plasma ball's light output, with the glass envelope filtered out was used to depict the alien Chocky in the 1984 British science fiction series of the same name. In March 1985, a plasma ball was featured as the aliens' "Doomsday Weapon" on the TV sci-fi series V: The Series episode "War of Illusions". A plasma ball or "gizmo" was part of the primary plot as the time and space-warping engine of an alien spacecraft in the 1985 science fiction movie My Science Project released in August 1985. The Greatest American Hero is an American television series which aired from 1981 to 1983 on ABC. It starred William Katt as Ralph Hinkley, Robert Culp as Bill Maxwell, and Connie Selleca as Pam Davidson. ... The Man with Two Brains is a 1983 US film directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner. ... Chocky is a science fiction novel by John Wyndham, author of The Day of the Triffids. ... V is a two-part 1983 NBC sci-fi miniseries, written and directed by Kenneth Johnson. ... My Science Project is a 1985 comedy/adventure/science fiction film. ...


In one episode of the show Newhart, Larry, Darryl, and Darryl become rich. "Darryl" buys a plasma ball and spends most of the episode staring into it. Newhart was a television situation comedy starring comedian Bob Newhart that aired on the CBS network from 1982 to 1990. ...


In the UK, the late Kenny Everett, had a plasma ball in front of him when he presented Brainstorm, a television science quiz programme for the BBC. The programme was not particularly successful and did not last more than one season. Kenny Everett Kenny Everett (born Maurice Cole in Crosby, Merseyside, Liverpool, December 25, 1944, died April 4, 1995), was a popular British radio DJ and television entertainer. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, usually known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is one of the largest broadcasting corporations in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the UK alone and with a budget of more than £4 billion. ...


A plasma lamp exhibit was a feature at World Expo '88, where a range of commercial units were available at a cost of many thousands of dollars. Just a few years later, novelty shops began selling significantly cheaper and more portable units. Expo 88 - as seen from the Brisbane River (photo taken from Victoria Bridge) Expo 88 - showing a globe of the world (photo taken from Victoria Bridge) Expo 88 at night (photo taken from Victoria Bridge) Expo 88 was a Worlds Fair held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia between April 30...


Commercially-available units (lightning plates) are prominently depicted as part of Borg technology in the series Star Trek: Voyager. A plasma lamp was used as a part of the engine of the USS Dauntless in the Voyager episode "Hope and Fear". Plasma balls also feature in the opening sequences of The X-Files. The Futurama episode Insane in the Mainframe features a robot with a plasma lamp for a head. The Unicomplex, a huge Borg complex in the Delta Quadrant. ... The starship Voyager (NCC-74656), an Intrepid-class starship. ... The U.S.S. Dauntless (NX-01-A) The USS Dauntless (NX-01-A) was the name of a Federation starship sent by Starfleet to bring the crew of USS Voyager home. ... The starship Voyager (NCC-74656), an Intrepid-class starship. ... Hope and Fear is an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the final episode of the fourth season. ... For other uses, see The X-Files (disambiguation). ... Futurama is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) and David X. Cohen for the Fox Network. ... “Insane in the Mainframe” is the eleventh episode in season three of Futurama. ...


On the popular ESPN sports talk show Pardon the Interruption, a plasma lamp is used as a crystal ball by host Tony Kornheiser during the PTI Psychic Hotline segment. Pardon the Interruption (also known as PTI) is a sports television show on ESPN filmed in Washington, D.C., and airing on various ESPN TV channels, XM and Sirius satellite radio services, and is also distributed as a podcast. ... Anthony Irwin Kornheiser (born July 13, 1948) is an American sportswriter and radio and television talk show host. ...


See also

Electronics Portal
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Image File history File links Zenerdiod_symbol. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... U.S. Patent 3,386,883 - fusor — June 4, 1968 The Farnsworth–Hirsch Fusor, or simply fusor, is an apparatus designed by Philo T. Farnsworth to create nuclear fusion. ... Copper Crestworth Coach Lanter Lava Lamp A lava lamp is a novelty item typically used for decoration rather than illumination. ... A plasma lamp, illustrating some of the more complex phenomena of a plasma, including filamentation. ... A Standard Household Light bulb This page is a list of sources of light. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Plasma lamp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (775 words)
Plasma lamps (also variously "plasma globes", "plasma balls", "plasma domes", "plasma spheres"', or "plasma orbs") are novelty items which were most popular in the 1980s.
The plasma lamp was "discovered" in 1904 by Nikola Tesla after his experimention with high frequency currents in an evacuated glass tube for the purpose of studying high voltage phenomena.
Plasma lamps are mainly used as curiosities or toys for their unique lighting effects and the 'tricks' that can be performed on them by moving the hands around them.
Plasma (physics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2813 words)
The dynamics of plasmas interacting with external and self-generated magnetic fields are studied in the academic discipline of magnetohydrodynamics.
While electric fields in plasmas are usually small due to the high conductivity, the electric field associated with a plasma moving in a magntic field is not affected by Debye shielding.
For many purposes the electric field in a plasma may be treated as zero, although when current flows the voltage drop, though small, is finite, and density gradients are usually associated with an electric field according to the Boltzmann relation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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