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Modular Surface Discharge Lamps
Commercial flashlamps have glass walls and are relatively fragile. Typically, they only supply 10,000 times the illumination of sunlight before the intense discharge makes them explode.

In contrast, MegaSun lamps—known as "modular surface discharge lamps"—can produce 1 million times the illumination of direct sunlight. Based on your lighting needs, you can arrange three or more lamps in series in a variety of configurations.

Here's how a MegaSun lamp works: A pulse from the power unit initiates a plasma that stretches along the length of the chamber and reaches temperatures in excess of 20,000 K.

Each pulse produces about 150 MW of electrical energy. About 10 percent is converted into visible light, resulting in 15 MW of light. For the relatively small areas used in ultrahigh-speed photography, the irradiance is typically 5 kW/cm² (~10 gigalux), which is sufficient for exposing color film at over 2 million fps.

If instead the system were used as an electronic flash replacement for normal color photography at f/4 with 400 ASA film, the lamps could provide sufficient illumination for roughly 36,000 square yards—the equivalent of almost six football fields.

Finally, our lamps' chambers are made of plastic, giving them much more strength and impact resistance than glass. A thin ceramic coating covers a portion of the chambers, protecting the plastic from the high-temperature plasma and making the lamps reusable.

  Fig. 1: Clear MegaSun lamp.
  Fig. 2: Coated MegaSun lamp.