Metal Halide

About Metal Halide Lights

Metal halide lamps are a development of mercury vapor technology, using metal halide additives. These additives increase luminous efficacy and provide better color rendering, without the use of phosphor coatings like fluorescent lamps use.

Metal halide lamps have been around since the 1960s, and were first used widely in outdoor applications. These included sports stadiums, outdoor stages, and large indoor areas like warehouses. At first, most of these lamps were large, utilizing a screw base, while smaller form factors were developed later.

Ceramic metal halide lamps were used for several decades in high end retail and other settings where their high color rendering and whiter light, compared to incandescent and halogen, were important. This allowed for cooler white light in a small lamp, which wasn't possible with fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent.

For stage and studio applications, medium short arc metal halide lamps can be used. These offer higher brightness, although they reduce the life of the lamp. For some stage/studio settings, though, this trade-off is acceptable, and high color temperatures of 5600K can be attained with the use of certain rare earth elements.

Metal halide lamps can also be used for optical applications. These short arc metal halide bulbs are usually even smaller than the medium short arc variations. They are used in projectors or for special effects, as well as for medical or scientific lights. A reflector can be paired with the light for use in fiber optic equipment.

A final application for metal halide lamps is ultraviolet curing of resins, paints, and other materials. Using certain halides, the UV output can be boosted, especially in the UVA region.

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