When a band like U2 makes a song called ‘Neon lights’, you cannot help but wonder about how deep these lights have permeated into everyday life and about the myriad of ways in which they can be used. It was first introduces to the commercial market in 1910 by Georges Claude. Since then, it has successfully replaced other forms of advertising and other lighting techniques such as Moore tubes and Geissler tubes in a very short time.
Before the unparalleled growth of Neon lights, Moore tubes were the most popular lighting options. Georges Claude had to convince apprehensive consumers to opt for Neon tubes which used rare, inert gases like Neon and Xenon over Moore tubes which used available gases like Nitrogen. In order to attract more users, he even started to manufacture Neon in huge amounts.
The principle behind the Neon is very simple. It was a well known fact that some gases emit radiations when a certain amount of electricity is passed. Georges Claude simply applied this fact using Neon. He filled a tube with Neon and supplied electricity for the gas so that it is ionized. Once the threshold was crossed and the gas was ionized, it started emitting radiations. Once the electricity was sufficient to ionize the gas completely, the radiation was emitted constantly.
Neon signs are an efficient way of marketing and advertising and the eye candy looks can garner attention of the passers by. This is why the lights are the first way of advertising for every restaurant, casino or any other business these days. They make advertisements appear prominently due to the bright, vibrant colors reminding one about the lights of Las Vegas.
Contrary to the common conception, the lights are streetlyte not always made using Neon. Since, in 1898, Neon was the first among the Inert gases to be discovered and also since Neon lights were popular before other gases like Helium were used for lighting, the name ‘Neon lights’ was commonly used for all such lights. However, if you see such a light with various colors, it is highly probable that it uses Helium for pink, Neon for Orange, Krypton and Xenon for purple and Argon for blue. Also, these gases can be combined in different ratios to generate different colors.
It has been a century since its birth and Neon lighting looks like it is all set to last for another one easily. The fact that Neon lights are easy to build and replace makes it all the more popular among businessmen. Also, while Fluorescent bulbs need a filament and incandescent bulbs need an incandescent layer coated on the bulbs, Neon lights only need a gas filled tube along with two electrodes. Also, Neon lights can be shaped as per requirement and this makes it more convenient to use. Finally, if required, they can be made indefinitely long. However, most businesses use shorter tubes since replacing them is easier than replacing long tubes.