Xenon lights are a type of High Intensity Discharge Lamp. These lamps create light by passing a current through a gas - similar to a fluorescent light, and are best used in areas where bright light is needed, such as in warehouses, car headlights, streetlamps, stadiums and factories.
Xenon Arc Lamps specifically use ionized xenon gas to produce a bright white light, and are used in several specialized industries and applications due to their high Colour Rendering ability.
The xenon arc lamp has the advantage over carbon arc lamps in that it does not flicker, is more compact, and is less of a fire hazard because of how it’s arc is enclosed.
HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY
Xenon lamps where first widely produced from the 1950s, commercially introduced by the Osram lighting company for theatre applications, and are still widely used in projection lamps today.
Like other HID lamps, they create light by filling an arc tube with gas (In this case, Xenon), and running an electric arc through between two tungsten electrodes. This arc heats the gas within and produces an intense light.
In 1991 "xenon headlamps" were introduced for vehicles by the BMW in the 7 Series. As with many higher end and advanced technologies, Xenon lights were mostly found in luxury models up until the turn of the century. Since then, these incredibly bright lights have become increasingly common in mid-range vehicles.
Fun Fact: Despite the name, these are actually metal-halide lamps; the xenon gas only being used during start-up in order to correct the colour temperature. Despite this, these are still widely known as Xenon Headlamps.
Due to their high CRI and ability to faithfully recreate a sun-like light, Xenon lamps have long been used in medical applications. The light is able to properly highlight tissue colour, and is ideal for microscopic applications, including and not limited to: Endoscopy, Dentistry, and Ocular testing.
Most commonly, Xenon lamps are used specifically for fluorescence microscopes, which are used to study the properties of organic or inorganic substances.