The SIL 500 Joule multi-headed Xenon flash lamp from Specialised Imaging Ltd. (Tring, Herts., UK) is for use with ultra-fast cameras that have short recording times. When using high-speed cameras to fast record transient phenomena, very short exposure times are necessary to arrest image motion — typically a few nanoseconds. The flash lamps create high-intensity illumination for short periods of time (2 mSec) that can be controlled and synchronized to match the time frame of an event being recorded by an ultra-high-speed camera.

The lamps operate on the principle that electrical energy is stored in large capacitors and released into a specially designed flash tube, creating a high-energy luminous discharge. The xenon produces a spectral output with energies at virtually all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, making it suitable for use with film and solid-state sensors. The lamp’s flash tube life is rated at thousands of hours. The lamps produce negligible amounts of heat since illumination results from excitation of gas molecules.