Posted by Steven Jackson on 7th Oct 2015

What is an HBO 103W/2 Short Arc Mercury Lamp Anyway?

The OSRAM HBO 103W/2 lamp the workhorse in fluorescence microscopy. There are an entire family of HBO lamps in use, however the 103W version is the most popular lamp in microscopy. Many lighting companies have never heard of this type lamp and do not offer it. Well offers all the OSRAM HBO lamps and we offer them at unbeatable prices!

High pressure mercury vapor arc discharge lamp are 10 to 100 times brighter than the incandescent lamp, and has a power consumption of more than 200 watts. HBO is a trademark that means: H for Hg or hydrargyrum; B is the symbol for luminance; O for unforced cooling. The first HBO lamp was developed and produced by Osram in the 1930s. The short arc lamp was primarily used for ultraviolet light pens, and was later developed for use in microscopy and UV curing.

HBO 103W/2 OSRAMThe discharge envelope of the HBO lamp is consisted of quartz glass, because only quartz glass can withstand the high mechanical load caused by the high operating pressure as well as the high thermal load emitted. Surface temperatures of this operation can exceed up to 800 degrees Celsius, and 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit. For the microscopist, the unique wavelength and spectral intensity output is most important while considering various illumination sources. However; only about half of the output is in ultraviolet emissions and about a third of the output is in visible light. The remainder of the output is in heat. Thusly, great care is needed when operating this lamp.

The HBO lamp will need 10 to 20 minutes before they reach their operating temperature and total number of ignitions are not to exceed one half of the rated hours. To ensure proper operation on startup, the lamp should not be switched off during this period. This cycle will reduce the life of the lamp, and the amount of ignitions are usually less than 10 start ups or 200 average hours. As the mercury lamp age, they will blacken and become harder to ignite due to the wear of the cathode and anode. Because of this aging the focal point will drift, and become de-centered in the object rear opening. Once the lamp reach this stage in its life, it should be replaced. 

If your University or research department is looking for a stocking supplier of specialty light bulbs like the HBO 103W/2 or the HBO 100W/2 look no further than

If you have any questions about these lamps or need special bulk pricing for your facility please give us a call at 1-888-988-2852. We are here to be your lighting resource!