Hollow-Cathode Lamp


The hollow cathode lamp (HCL) uses a cathode made of the element of interest with a low internal pressure of an inert gas. A low electrical current (~ 10 mA) is imposed in such a way that the metal is excited and emits a few spectral lines characteristic of that element (for instance, Cu 324.7 nm and a couple of other lines; Se 196 nm and other lines, etc.). The light is emitted directionally through the lamp's window, a window made of a glass transparent in the UV and visible wavelengths.


Schematic of a hollow-cathode lamp