Advantages of the Xenon Flashtube & How it Works

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People tend to get excited over new things. We often get completely stimulated when finding a brand new experience to have or sight to see. According to research, we all like novelty in one way or another. And in fact, our brains are made to be attracted to novelty. Many people switch over to new technologies available in the market, thinking that they are much better than the previous technologies available before.

In the beginning of the 20th century, LED technology was introduced in the market as the new era of lighting technology, and as another lighting option aside from the traditional incandescent lamps and flashtubes. As years passed by, people began to adapt LED technology and now is slowly becoming the industry’s lighting standard.

However, some people today still prefer to use flashtubes – especially the xenon flashtube when it comes to emergency vehicle lighting, warning signals, and strobe lighting, due to its convenience, benefits and advantages over LED.

This week we’re going to discuss again about xenon flashtubes. But this time we’ll discuss briefly about how the xenon flashtube works and how it is different from the previous incandescent lamp, and also some of its advantages that keeps people using them, despite the new lighting technology trends available in the market today.


How Xenon Flashtubes Work

As we know, all lamps generate and produce light, but they don’t all work the same way. One example of this is the incandescent lamp and the xenon flashtube. The incandescent lamp generates light by passing electric current through a thin metal filament called tungsten filament, then heating it to a certain temperature to produce light.

On the other hand, the xenon flashtube doesn’t have a filament, and works differently from the incandescent lamp. A flashtube or flash lamp is an example of an arc lamp. Arc lamps are designed to generate a full-spectrum of white light for very short durations. They are made of thin glass tubes with electrodes at either end and are filled with a noble gas typically xenon. When the power supply is triggered or turned on, the atoms of the noble gas ionizes and split into smaller parts. These broken parts of atoms which consist of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons runs in opposite directions along the tube which forms an electric current. As electric current is produced, it gives off energy as a flash of light similar to a lightning bolt called an arc. When more light is produced, it becomes incredibly hot with a temperature of over 3000o C and burns brightly in the process.


The xenon flashtube doesn’t have many advantages over the LED, but these advantages are more practical and convenient for users. In this case, there are people who prefer to use xenon flashtubes over the LED.

Affordability and Availability – Although LEDs are cheaper in the long run because of low power consumption, they are much expensive compared to xenon flashtubes which are low cost and very affordable. Xenon flashtubes can also be found almost anywhere and are always available in the market today, unlike LEDs that have limited quantity due to high manufacturing costs.

Better Brightness – LEDs are much brighter today than before because of recent developments made, but xenon flashtubes are still considered to be brighter than LEDs.

Colour Rendering – One of the weaknesses of LED is its inferior colour rendering, that is important in some areas and applications where detailed rendering is needed. On the other hand, the xenon flashtube has a very unique capability to produce light that is very close to natural sunlight.

Efficiency – Like LEDs, xenon flashtubes are also energy efficient and can save energy up to 50%.

Despite the LED’s continued developments up to this day, the xenon flashtube still remains on the market and is still considered as one of the industry’s lighting standard, when it comes to certain areas and applications mentioned above. In case you are confused what to choose between the two, it is best to have both. Both the LED and xenon flashtube are special in different ways. And remember that all things have their own strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages whether it be a new technology or a previous one.