GIPHOTOSTOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GIPHOTOSTOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fluorescent lightbulb spectrum. Optical intensity as a function wavelength is called spectral distribution or spectrum. Shown here is the spectrum emitted by a compact fluorescent lightbulb. The spectrum was obtained by decomposing or spatially dispersing white light with a diffraction grating. Note that emission of the fluorescent lightbulb does not continuously fill the visible spectrum, rather it consists of several distinct spectral lines that are produced by several phosphors. Compared to incandescent lightbulbs, fluorescent lightbulbs are generally several times more efficient. They typically use mercury vapor and need to be properly disposed of.
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