Spectral Changes in Metal Halide and High-pressure Sodium Lamps Equipped with Electronic Dimming

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  • 1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center, Advanced Life Support Division, Regenerative Systems Branch, Moffett Field, CA 94035

Electronic dimming of high-intensity discharge lamps offers control of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) but is often characterized as causing significant spectral changes. Growth chambers with 400-W metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps were equipped with a dimmer system using silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCR) as high-speed switches. Phase control operation turned the line power off for some period of the alternating current cycle. At full power, the electrical input to HPS and MH lamps was 480 W (root mean squared) and could be decreased to 267 W and 428 W, respectively, before the arc was extinguished. Concomitant with this decrease in input power, PPF decreased by 60% in HPS and 50% in MH. The HPS lamp has characteristic spectral peaks at 589 and 595 nm. As power to the HPS lamps was decreased, the 589-nm peak remained constant while the 595-nm peak decreased, equaling the 589-nm peak at 345-W input, and the 589-nm peak was almost absent at 270-W input. The MH lamp has a broader spectral output but also has a peak at 589 nm and another smaller peak at 545 nm. As input power to the MH lamps decreased, the peak at 589 diminished to equal the 545-nm peak. As input power approached 428 W, the 589-nm peak shifted to 570 nm. While the spectrum changed as input power was decreased in the MH and HPS lamps, the phytochrome equilibrium ratio (Pfr: Ptot) remains unchanged for both lamp types.

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