Understanding How Neon Signs Work

Neon Open Sign

Bars, music venues, and countless other locations are known to make use of neon signs in Chandler and Phoenix. These neon light signs can do a great job of grabbing and holding attention, but many people are completely clueless as to how they work. In order for a neon sign to offer its signature glow, the right materials must be present. This will allow a reaction to occur, and this reaction can be customized to display different hues. Read on if you would like a deeper understanding of how neon signs work.

Examining the Materials
In order for neon signs to emit the enticing glow that they are known for, a few specific materials must be present. Neon Business Signs Chandler, AZ Neon signs require vacuum tubes, electrodes, and special types of gases. Although they are typically referred to as neon signs, neon is just one of the gases that they might use. Argon, xenon, krypton, and helium are also common elements found in neon signs. These gases are inert, so they do not easily combine with other elements. It is this property that allows them to reliably emit the glow that you might see coming from a neon sign.

Understanding the Reaction
Although these gases will not readily combine with other chemicals, you can still force reactions by manipulating them with electrodes inside of a vacuum tube. When you plug your neon sign in and turn it on, voltage flows through the tube and the gas inside of it. This excites the gaseous atoms, destabilizing them and leaving them with an electric charge. The movement of electrons within these atoms produces photons, and the consistent electrical current causes the signs to continue emitting them.

Achieving the Colors
If all gases emitted the same types of photons when excited via electrode, all neon signs would look the same; fortunately for neon sign makers and enjoyers, this is not the case. The hue of the photon emission depends on the type of gas involved in the reaction as well as the color of the vacuum glass. Different combinations of gases and materials make for a full spectrum of colors.