Fluorescent lamp fixtures are more costly than incandescent lamps because they require a ballast to regulate the current through the lamp, but the lower energy cost typically offsets the higher initial cost.Compact fluorescent lamps are now available in the same popular sizes as incandescents and are used as an energy-saving alternative in homes.It was similar to a fluorescent lamp without the fluorescent coating on the tube, and produced greenish light. While Becquerel was interested primarily in conducting scientific research into fluorescence, Thomas Edison briefly pursued fluorescent lighting for its commercial potential.He invented a fluorescent lamp in 1896 that used a coating of calcium tungstate as the fluorescing substance, excited by X-rays, but although it received a patent in 1907, it was not put into production.A fluorescent lamp, or fluorescent tube, is a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light.An electric current in the gas excites mercury vapor, which produces short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow.He also made the important observation that the glow in the tube shifted position when in proximity to an electromagnetic field.Alexandre Edmond Becquerel observed in 1859 that certain substances gave off light when they were placed in a Geissler tube.
One of the first scientists to experiment with a Geissler tube was Julius Plücker who systematically described in 1858 the luminescent effects that occurred in a Geissler tube.Little more was done with this phenomenon until 1856 when German glassblower Heinrich Geissler created a mercury vacuum pump that evacuated a glass tube to an extent not previously possible.Geissler invented the first gas-discharge lamp, the Geissler tube, consisting of a partially evacuated glass tube with a metal electrode at either end.Because they contain mercury, many fluorescent lamps are classified as hazardous waste.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that fluorescent lamps be segregated from general waste for recycling or safe disposal, and some jurisdictions require recycling of them.
A fluorescent lamp converts electrical energy into useful light much more efficiently than incandescent lamps.