09
Apr
10

Plasma globes


The adjacent picture is of a plasma globe. Most commonly, plasma globes are available in spheres or cylinders. Although many variations exist, a plasma lamp is usually a clear glass orb filled with a mixture of various gases—most commonly helium and neon, but sometimes also xenon and krypton—at low pressure (below 0.01 atmosphere) and driven by high-frequency alternating current at approximately 35 kHz, 2–5 kV, generated by a high-voltage transformer.

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.

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.

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