Various efforts within the cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) industry are underway to decrease costs and increase electrode performance. In order to understand the impact that the choice of gas mixtures and pressures, cathode shape and material might have on the lamp's operation requires a knowledge of the underlying principles governing the glow discharge. We present a review of the literature on the hollow cathode effect and glow discharges, which has particular relevance to the design of CCFL lamp electrodes used in liquid crystal displays. We show that industry-wide standard gas pressures and electrode designs cannot operate in the hollow cathode regime.
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