One of the first responses that we find when we quote an engineer or purchasing agent the cost of a xenon arc lamp is….. “Wow, I never expected a light bulb to cost that much!” When is a light bulb a light bulb but really not a light bulb in a traditional sense? A xenon arc lamp (pronounced zee-non) is typically considered to be the core element in a sophisticated system. That system could be a digital film projector, a spectroscopy system, a medical endoscopy system, a solar simulator as well as many, many other systems.
This lamp type does not use a filament, LED (light emitting diode) or even a fluorescent excited gas to produce light. Instead, xenon gas is pumped into a rugged lamp body, where when the gas is at an elevated temperature such as between two electrodes, the resulting light most closely matches daylight or 6000K.
An arc lamp of this type is quite a sophisticated beast to manufacture and operate. It requires a special ignition circuit, power supply, mounting and cooling to perform its duties in the systems mentioned above. Without the arc lamp, these systems would be much more cumbersome or even impossible to operate.