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12.3 Essential Questions What are the advantages and disadvantages of different lighting devices? How does a laser produce coherent light? What are some uses for lasers? Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Incandescent Lights Most of the lightbulbs in your house probably produce incandescent light, which is generated by heating a piece of metal until it glows. Inside an incandescent lightbulb is a small wire coil, called a filament, which usually is made of tungsten metal. When an electric current flows in the filament, the electric resistance of the metal causes the filament to become hot enough to give off light. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Fluorescent Lights A fluorescent light uses phosphors to convert ultraviolet radiation to visible light. The inside of the bulb is coated with phosphors that emit visible light when they absorb ultraviolet radiation. A fluorescent bulb is filled with a gas at low pressure. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Fluorescent Lights Electrons are given off when the electrodes at each end of the tube are connected in a circuit. When these electrons collide with the gas atoms, ultraviolet radiation is emitted. The phosphors absorb this radiation and give off visible light. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Efficient Lighting Fluorescent lights use as little as one fifth the electrical energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs also last much longer than incandescent bulbs. This higher efficiency can mean lower energy costs over the life of the bulb. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Neon Lights The vivid, glowing colors of neon lights make them a popular choice for signs and eye-catching decorations on buildings. These lighting devices are glass tubes filled with gas, typically neon, and work similarly to fluorescent lights. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education When an electric current flows through the tube, electrons collide with the gas molecules. In this case, however, the collisions produce visible light. If the tube contains only neon, the light is bright red. Different colors can be produced by adding other gases to the tube.
Sodium-Vapor Lights Inside a sodium-vapor lamp is a tube that contains a mixture of neon gas, a small amount of argon gas, and a small amount of sodium metal. When the lamp is turned on, the gas mixture becomes hot. The hot gases cause the sodium metal to turn to vapor, and the hot sodium vapor emits a yellow-orange glow. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Tungsten-Halogen Lights These lights have a tungsten filament inside a quartz bulb or tube. The tube is filled with a gas that contains one of the halogen elements, such as fluorine or chlorine. The presence of this gas enables the filament to become much hotter than the filament in an ordinary incandescent bulb. As a result, the light is much brighter. The chemical interaction between the tungsten filament and the halogen gas make the bulb last longer. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Lasers A laser’s light begins when a number of light waves are emitted at the same time. Lasers can be made with many different materials, including gases, liquids, and solids. One of the most common is the helium-neon laser, which produces a beam of red light. To achieve this, a number of identical atoms each must be given the same amount of energy. When they release their energy, each atom sends off an identical light wave. Some of this light wave is reflected between two facing mirrors at opposite ends of the laser. One of the mirrors is coated only partially with reflective material, so it reflects most light but allows some to get through. Some emitted light waves travel back and forth between the mirrors many times, stimulating other atoms to emit identical light waves also. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Coherent Light Coherent light is light of only one wavelength that travels in one direction with a constant distance between corresponding crests. The waves add together to form one wave, so the beam does not spread out. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Incoherent Light Incoherent light can contain more than one wavelength, and its electromagnetic waves are not aligned. The waves don’t travel in the same direction, so the beam spreads out. The intensity of the light is much less than that of the coherent laser beam. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Using Lasers A laser beam is narrow and does not spread out as it travels over long distances. So lasers can apply large amounts of energy to small areas. In industry, powerful lasers are used for cutting and welding materials. Surveyors and builders use lasers for measuring and leveling. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Lasers in Medicine In the eye and other parts of the body, surgeons can use lasers in place of scalpels to cut through body tissues. The energy from the laser seals off blood vessels in the incision and reduces bleeding. Lasers are routinely used to remove cataracts, reshape the cornea, and repair the retina. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
CDs and Videodiscs When a videodisc or CD is produced, the information is burned into the surface of the disc with a laser. A CD player also uses a laser to read the disc. The laser creates millions of tiny pits in a spiral pattern that starts at the center of the disc and moves out to the edge. As the laser beam strikes a pit or flat spot, different amounts of light are reflected to a light sensor. The reflected light is converted to an electric signal that the speakers use to create sound. Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education
Producing Light Copyright © McGraw-Hill Education Review Essential Questions What are the advantages and disadvantages of different lighting devices? How does a laser produce coherent light? What are some uses for lasers? Vocabulary incandescent light fluorescent light incoherent light coherent light
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