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Патент USA US2135691

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' NOV- 8, 1933‘-
H. ALTERTHUM ET AL
2,135,691
GASEOUS ELECTRIC DISCHARGE DEVICE
Filed Dec. 2, 1936
INVENTORS
Hans Al’cerHwum
Marcello Pirani
A
ORNEY
'
?aten_ted Nov. 8, ii T33
rATENT OFFICE
UNH'ED STATES
2.135591
GASEOUS ELECTRIC DISCHARGE DEVICE
Hans Alterthum and Marcello Pirani, Berlin
.
Wilmersdorf, Germany, assignors to General
Electric Company, a- corporation of New York
Application December 2, 1936, Serial No. 113,919
,
In
Germany December 6, 1935
3 Claims.
(01. 176-124)
The present invention relates to gaseous elec- 1 the electrode at the other end of the tube; or
trlc discharge devic generally and more par
ticularly the inventio relates to such devices use-v
ful as light sources (1 for advertising.
5 . The object of theR} vention is to provide a gase
ous electric discha ge lamp out?t for operation
on commercial sources of symmetrical alternating
current which out?t comprises a gaseous electric
. discharge device emitting different colored light
10 from di?erent parts thereof and which is useful
in the advertising and illumination ?elds. Still
furtherobjects and advantages attaching to the
device and. to its use and operation will be ap
parent to those skilled in the art from the fol
_15 lowing particular description.
.
gaseous electric discharge device having a
oi’- gases‘therein, which gases have dif-
when cold electrodes are used one electrode is
activated and the other is not, or when cold elec
trodes of equal size are used in each end of the
tube the tube is connected across a_high voltage 5
transformer which has an operating voltage -'
slightly greater than the starting voltage of the
tube and a particularly sensitive part of_the tube
is grounded. The sensitive part of the tube is
discovered by groping either with the bare hand 10
or with a grounded band.
The assymmetry of
the alternating current is equivalent to the super-'
imposing of a direct current on the alternating
current applied to the tube and has a like e?ect,
that is, it causes the separation of the constituents 15
of the gas mixture so that one end of the tube
emits a light typical of the gas collected thereat
and the other end of the tube emits light typical
ferent' ionizing potentials, emits di?erent colored of
the different gas collected thereat.
lighti'from‘idi?erent'parfs thereof when the de
It is 'su?lcient for the purpose of the invention 20
if the separation of the gases in the tube proceeds
the cathode-and the" gas having the higher ioniz- - only to that point whereat the gas having the
' ingpotentlial travels‘toward the anode under the lower ionizing potential is moved out of one part
in?uence‘o‘of the direct current discharge. This of the tube. Since the gas having the higher
.25 separation .of the gases is known in the art as ionizing potential is excited to luminescence by
the discharge only in that, part of the tube con
electrophoresis. and 'in pronounced cases in dis
taining very little of the gas having the lower
chargedevic'esa-having an elongated tubular con
I tainer‘the tube has-the appearance of two linear ionizing potential the tube then emits di?erent
colored light from different parts thereof.
. luminescent'fcolumns of different color, for ex
Preferably the tubular container of the device 30
:-.‘30 ample, when a mixture of'neon and argon is used
is
many times greater in length than in'diameter
inthe tube? the device appears red at one end
thereof and‘ blue-violetv at the other end thereof. and the diameter itself is preferably small. The
When suehdevices are operated on symmetrical thermal diffusion of the gases in the tube, which
alternating current this phenomena does not take tends to overcome'the separation of the gases 35
under the in?uence of the unsymmetrical alter
35 place because the tendency of the gases to sepa
nating current, is thus minimized. Preferably
rate during one‘ half cycle is overcome by the re
versal of current ?ow in the next half cycle. It is, the percentage of gas having the lower ionizing
of course, possible to cause the separation of the potential, for example, argon in an argon helium
-20"vicej_'._is_.op'erated lonédirect current since the gas
.vhaving-aa-‘lower ionizing potential travels toward
_
gases in an alternating current device by super
40 imposing a direct current on the alternating cur
rent, but such an apparatus is expensive and
complicated.
' The present invention attains its objects by
transforming in the lamp itself a symmetrical
45 alternating current supplied to the discharge de
vice into. an unsymmetrical alternating current
to a degree that separation of the constituents of
the gas mixture takes place with the e?ect de
scribed above. The transforming of the symmet
50 rical alternating current supplied to the tube into
_ unsymmetrical alternating current can be ac
complished in many di?erent ways, for example,
when thermionic electrodes are used the elec
trode at one end of the tubular container has a
55 di?erent electron emissive capacity than that of
mixture, or mercury in a neon mercury mixture,
is such that it is just su?icient to emit light. We 40
have observed that the smaller the amount of
the component having the lower ionizing poten
tial the faster is the separation of the gases in
the tube.
In the drawing accompanying and forming part
of this speci?cation two embodiments of the in
vention are shown, in which
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view of one embodi
ment of the invention, and
Fig. 2 is a similar view of another embodiment 50
of the invention.
.
Referring to Fig. 1 of the drawing the gaseous
electric discharge device comprises a tubular con
tainer I having electrodes 2 and 3 sealed therein _
at the ends thereof and having a gaseous atmos- 55
arsenal phere therein. Said electrodes 2 and I are elec
those museum artwithoutdeparting from
tron emitting when heated to an elevated tem ' the broad spirit and scope of the invention, for _
perature by the eifects of the discharge incident
thereat and consist oi’ a pellet of electron emit
ting material, such as barium oxide, having a
illament of high melting point material, such as
tungsten, wrapped around said pellet. The elec
trodes I and s are‘ selected so as to have different
electron emissive capacity. The gaseous atmos
10 phere consists of a mixture of helium at a pres
sure of approximately 8.7 mm. and argon at a
pressure of approximately 0.3 mm. The tubular
container I is about 7 mm. in diameter and the
electrodes 2, 3 are separated a distance ‘of about
15 300 mm. When the lamp described above is con
nected to a source of symmetrical alternating
current a visible separation of the gas mixture
takes place immediately after the discharge has
started and the maximum separation of the con
stituents takes place in approximately 30 seconds.
emits light diiierent in color than the
emitted by any of the gases in the tube,
desired, a yellow ?uorescent material,
zinc silicate, is applied to that part ofthe'
E5
"the container surrounding the luminous mercury
column of a device containing neon and mercury 10
vapor to obtain a light approximating white light.
Whatweclaimasnewanddesiretosecureby
Letters Patent of the United States, is:
I. In combination. a cun'ent' source of sym
metrical alternating current, a gaseous electric 15
discharge device connected across the terminals
of said source, said device comprising an elon
gated tubular container, electrodes saled therein
at the ends thereoi’, a mixture of gasu therein
each of said gases having a diiferent ionising N
The discharge in the end of the tube whereat the . potential said electrodes being cold electrodes, the
less emissive electrode is mounted appears yel
low-rose in color and the discharge at the oppo
site end of the tube appears blue-violet in color.
A tube having this appearance is, of course, use
ful for advertising purposes.
When cold electrodes 5 and 6 are used a sensi
tive part of the container i is connected to
ground by band ‘I, as shown in Fig. 2 of the draw
ing, and as disclosed above.
-
- .
‘
When the gaseous atmosphere comprises a
voltage of said current source being slightly
higher than the starting voltage of said device. a
sensitive part of said device being grounded to
transform the symmetrical alternating current as
into‘ unsymmetrical alternating current in said
device to cause said device to emit diiferent col
ored light from different parts thereof.
‘
v 2. In combination a current source of sym
metrical alternating current, a gaseous electric
discharge device connected across the terminals
metal vapor and a ?xed gas, such as a mixture 01' ' of said source, said device comprising an elon
neon and mercury vapor, a similar separation gated tubular container. electrodes sealed therein
takes place, the blue colored light from the mer
cury vapor being present at the electrode having
the smaller cathode drop and the red neon light
‘appearing at the electrode with the larger cath
ode drop. In this case it is advantageous to
place the source of the mercury vapor at that end
40 of the tube to which the vapor travels during the
operation of the tube. 'This is accomplished in
many diiferent ways, for example, an oifset
chamber mounted at the desired part of the tube
is particularly . e?’ective. Preferably, however,
45 the quantity of vaporizable mercury in the tube
at the ends thereof, a mixture of gases therein.
each of said gases having a diiierent ionising po
tential said electrodes being cold electrodu, the
voltage of said current source being slightly
higher than the starting voltage of said device,
a sensitive part of said device being grounded to
transform the symmetrical alternating current
into unsymmetrical alternating current in said
device to cause the discharge in said device to
emit diiierent colored light from different parts
thereof and a luminescent material capable of
is suchthat it is completely vaporized during the
light emission under irradiation by said discharge
mounted in light receiving relation to said dis
operation thereof.
charge.
_
When desired, a light approximating white light
can be obtained from a device similar to the de
50 vice described above when the container I is ?lled
with mercury vapor and contains neon at a pres
~
3. In combination a current source of sym
metrical alternating current, a gaseous electric
discharge device connected across the terminals
of said source, said device comprising an elon'
sure of approximately 2 mm. Inthis case the _ gated tubular container, electrodes sealed therein
tube is preferably surrounded by a light di?using at the ends thereof, a mixture of argon and met
jacket which mixes the red and the blue light cury vapor therein, each of said gases having a
55 emitted from different parts of the tube. In this diiferent ionizing potential said electrodes being
case the container'i is preferably of U-shape or cold electrodes, the voltage of said current source
is coiled helically. When desired, sodium is in
being slightly higher than the starting voltage of
troduced into the tubular lamp container oi the said device, a sensitive part of said device being
.above embodiment and the light from the sodium grounded to transform the symmetrical alternat
60 is visible at the cathode having the smallest drop, ing current into unsymmetrical alternating cur
the blue light of the mercury is visible' in the rent in said device to cause the discharge in said
center portion of the tube and a red luminescent device to emit diflerent colored light from differ
neon light is visible adjacent the other electrode. ent parts thereof and a luminescent material
While we have shown and described and have capable of light emission under irradiation by
pointed out in the annexed claims certain novel said discharge mounted in light receiving relation
features of the invention, it will be understood to said discharge.
that various omissions, substitutions and changes
in the forms and details of the device illustrated
and in its use and operation may be made by '
‘
HANS AL'I'ER'I'HUH..
MARCEIID PIRANI.
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