How Do Xenon Lights Work?

In xenon lights, the purpose of the xenon is to greatly amplify the light that results from the high-intensity discharge electricity between two tungsten electrodes located inside the lamp tube or bulb.

How Do Xenon Lights Work?How Do Xenon Lights Work?
Xenon gas and a variety of metal salts are also located within the bulb. When a surge in voltage causes an arc of electricity to pass from one electrode to the other, the metallic salts vaporize. This vaporization gives off an extremely bright light. The intense energy of the vaporized salts excites the molecules in the xenon gas and causes the xenon to emit an intense blue glow.
Xenon headlights

In xenon lights, the purpose of the xenon is to greatly amplify the light that results from the high-intensity discharge electricity between two tungsten electrodes located inside the lamp tube or bulb. Xenon gas and a variety of metal salts are also located within the bulb. When a surge in voltage causes an arc of electricity to pass from one electrode to the other, the metallic salts vaporize. This vaporization gives off an extremely bright light. The intense energy of the vaporized salts excites the molecules in the xenon gas and causes the xenon to emit an intense blue glow.

Significance

Vehicle with xenon light upgrades

Manufacturers assert that Xenon headlights will become the predominant type of headlight used in future cars. Not only are they three times brighter than traditional headlights, they provide better illumination for drivers and the high intensity discharge system they employ is lighter and less expensive for car manufacturers to install in vehicles. Xenon headlights are also environmentally friendly. They typically last up to three times longer than halogen lights while requiring half the current to function.

About the Author

Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.