High-efficiency plasma

An emerging lighting technology that uses radiofrequency to stimulate a contained gas and create a small but very bright ball of plasma.

High-efficiency plasma lighting is the class of plasma lamps that have system efficiencies of 90 lumens per watt or more. Lamps in this class are potentially the most energy-efficient light source for outdoor, commercial and industrial lighting. This is due not only to their high system efficiency but also to the small light source they present enabling very high luminaire efficiency.

Luminaire Efficacy Rating (LER) is the single figure of merit the National Electrical Manufacturers Association has defined to help address problems with lighting manufacturers' efficiency claims and is designed to allow robust comparison between lighting types. It is given by the product of luminaire efficiency (EFF) times total rated lamp output in lumens (TLL) times ballast factor (BF), divided by the input power in watts (IP):


The "system efficiency" for a High-Efficiency Plasma lamp is given by the last three variables, that is, it excludes the luminaire efficiency. Though plasma lamps do not have a ballast, they have an RF power supply that fulfills the equivalent function. In electrodeless lamps, the inclusion of the electrical losses, or "ballast factor", in lumens per watt claimed can be particularly significant as the conversion of electrical power to radiofrequency (RF) power can be a highly inefficient process.

Many modern plasma lamps have very small light sources—far smaller than HID bulbs or fluorescent tubes—leading to much higher luminaire efficiencies also. High-intensity discharge lamps have typical luminaire efficiencies of 55%, and fluorescent lamps of 70%. Plasma lamps typically have luminaire efficiencies exceeding 90%.

Key Terms

class plasma lamps
energy efficient light source outdoor
high efficiency plasma
high efficiency plasma lighting
industrial lighting
lumens per watt
plasma lamps
system efficiencies

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Last modified on December 7 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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