New lamps for old

New lamps for old

Research in the chemistry department at Sheffield University is producing some revolutionary new applications of light sources – and the transformation of long established technologies.

The investigations by a team working with Dr Robin Devonshire include highly complex studies in modelling and simulation, and direct measurements of conditions in very hot reactive gases and in plasmas at temperatures up to 6,000 degrees K.

Other work by the group exploits advances in new materials and electronics, and has improved the manufacture and efficiency of familiar products like domestic and industrial light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

Developments in multi-media technology are also a driving force for the research, and have prompted the team’s design of novel lamps for information displays and projection TV.

The group is also working on pinpoint discharge light sources for medical applications.

Other industrial applications involve the use of powerful light sources to create chemical vapours to coat microelectronic devices, and other materials, with a pure film of a substance like diamond.

The design of experiments to reveal the underlying science and a better understanding of the theory of light sources is a major challenge, because of the high temperature conditions.

Lasers play a dual role both as novel light sources, and as components of spectroscopic instruments to probe reactive gases.