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How incandescent light bulbs create light

  1. Sep 25, 2015 #1
    I'm looking at how incandescent light bulbs create light in a more in depth manner, not just "filament gets hot and it glows". I want to know the actual science in an atomic level.

    I have been researching through books and the internet, and have yet to come to a conclusion whether the light from a tungsten incandescent light bulb comes from:

    a) The current passing through with a high voltage gives energy to electrons to jump to a higher energy level, and drops back down to ground state, spontaneously emitting photons (visible light).

    or

    b) Incandescence, simply due to the high temperature, which meant that the tungsten radiates some visible light instead of only infrared.

    or

    c) Both?

    I am really confused by all these information, some saying it's (a), some say it's (b).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2015 #2

    Bystander

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    A continuous spectrum;
    A line spectrum; which makes sense?
     
  4. Sep 25, 2015 #3
    So are you saying it's both? Both are responsible for producing light?

    Thanks a lot I really appreciate your reply.
     
  5. Sep 25, 2015 #4

    Bystander

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    Do you see any hint of a line spectrum from an incandescent lamp? Compare it to a CFL --- look at them alongside one another through beveled glass.
     
  6. Sep 25, 2015 #5

    DrClaude

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    No. He's asking you what you think the spectrum of light looks like.

    Consider this quote from the FAQ https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/do-photons-move-slower-in-a-solid-medium.511177/ [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  7. Sep 25, 2015 #6

    Drakkith

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    Both would be responsible to some degree, but incandescence is overwhelmingly dominant in a light bulb.
     
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