Investigating the outer-bulb discharge as ignition aid for automotive-HID lamps

Andre Bergner, Sven Gröger, Thomas Höbing, Cornelia Ruhrmann, Hechtfischer, U., Tochadse, G., Jürgen Mentel, Peter Awakowicz


This work considers the ignition process of mercury-free high-intensity discharge lamps used for car headlights. These lamps have to run-up fast. This is achieved with a high xenon pressure of about 15 bar (cold) in the inner bulb. The high filling-gas pressure causes an increased ignition voltage compared with lower-pressure lamps used in general-lighting applications. In this paper the possibility is investigated to reduce the ignition voltage by optimizing a dielectric-barrier discharge (DBD) in the outer bulb working as ignition aid. A special outer bulb was built up allowing gas exchange and adjustment of the gas pressure. For diagnostic purposes different electrical and optical methods are used, namely the recording of ignition voltage, ignition current and light emission by a photo-diode signal on nanosecond time scale as well as short-time photography by a intensified charge-coupled device camera. It was found that the DBD mainly generates a potential distribution within the lamp which supports ignition by an increase in the E-field in front of the electrodes and the wall. It is shown that this effect is distinctly more effective than UV radiation potentially emitted by the DBD.


tags: dbd, HID Lamp, ignition, ignition aids, streamer