US3037137A - Flexible light source - Google Patents

Flexible light source Download PDF

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US3037137A
US3037137A US81374059A US3037137A US 3037137 A US3037137 A US 3037137A US 81374059 A US81374059 A US 81374059A US 3037137 A US3037137 A US 3037137A
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light
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flexible
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source
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James F Motson
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James F Motson
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B33/00Electroluminescent light sources
    • H05B33/12Light sources with substantially two-dimensional radiating surfaces
    • H05B33/22Light sources with substantially two-dimensional radiating surfaces characterised by the chemical or physical composition or the arrangement of auxiliary dielectric or reflective layers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B33/00Electroluminescent light sources
    • H05B33/12Light sources with substantially two-dimensional radiating surfaces
    • H05B33/20Light sources with substantially two-dimensional radiating surfaces characterised by the chemical or physical composition or the arrangement of the material in which the electroluminescent material is embedded

Description

May 29, 1962 J. F. MOTSON 3,037,137

FLEXIBLE LIGHT SOURCE Filed May 18, 1959 SOURCE FIG.

JOHN DOE INVENTOR.

JAMES F. MOTSON United States Patent 3,037,137 FLEXIBLE LIGHT SOURCE James F. Motson, 798 Welsh Road, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Filed May 18, 1959, Ser. No. 813,740 2 Claims. (Cl. 313108) This invention relates to light sources and in particular to light sources which are packaged to be compact and flexible.

Heretofore light sources used in maintenance work have been generally of the non-flexible type. For instance, customarily people doing maintenance or repair work have depended on a drop light, or the everyday flashlight, to provide a source of light at the area upon which the work was being done. Such light sources have been only partially satisfactory because some areas were inaccessible due to the lack of room for advantageous placement of the bulky package of the drop light, or the flashlight and, thus, these areas could not be illuminated.

Efforts have been made to provide flexible sources of light, for instance in the form of a section of flexible cable. Such cable, while flexible, does have certain rigid characteristics, such as BX cable. In this last-mentioned arrangement a small bulb is held on the end of the cable. While such an arrangement does provide light into areas which may be inaccessible to the drop light, or the flashlight, this cable light is, of course, limited by the thickness of the cable and the bulb.

In the field of ornamental lighting, novelty lighting, or novel utility lighting heretofore the eiforts have been confined to different arrangements of incandescent light bulb packages, such as the bubblers for Christmas trees; or in the extreme, neon lights, as used in advertising signs. Such novelty lighting is unsatisfactory in that there is relatively heavy electrical power consumption and distracting electrical components, such as sockets, or taped joints, which take away from decorative appeal of the ornament.

It can be recognized that a light source which is extremely flexible and compact so as to be shaped irregularly for positioning in highly inaccessible areas and yet not be limited by cable and bulb thickness would be highly desirable, especially in maintenance work. It can also be recognized that a novel ornament device, which can assume virtually any shape, which is self-illuminating for use in decorations such as on Christmas trees, or in decorative utility such as door bell name plates, which would consume very little electrical power would be highly desirable.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved compact and flexible light source.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an ornamental omni-directional or directed light source which can be formed into substantially any particular shape.

In accordance with a main feature of the present invention there is provided a layer of electroluminescent material which is flexible, first and second layers of flexible electrical conducting material (with at least one layer being transparent), bonded to the opposite sides of said electroluminescent layer to provide a source of light mounted in or on a thin, flexible housing.

In accordance with another main feature of the present invention the layers of the last-mentioned feature can be formed according to any particular shape to provide a self-illuminating ornament device.

In accordance with another main feature of the present invention both of the electrical conducting layers of the first feature above can be transparent to provide an omnidirectional light source. 7

The foregoing and other objects and features of this invention will be best understood by reference to the fol- "ice lowing description of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of the basic light source package;

FIG. 2 is a pictorial schematic (with an end sectional) showing the flexibility of the present inventive light source housing;

FIG. 3 shows a self-illuminating ornament;

FIG. 4 shows a door bell name plate utility of the flexible light source;

FIG. 5 shows a pictorial of the flexible tape light package on a drum;

FIG. 6 shows a pictorial of a flexible tape light package driven by sprockets.

Referring particularly to FIG. 1 there is shown the basic light source package. The layer 11 is a flexible strong plastic base. Such a layer can be a polyester film such as Mylar, or a plastic material such as Teflon. Both Mylar and Teflon are manufactured and sold by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, Delaware. Although a flexible, strong plastic layer is shown at 11 it is to be understood that the basic flexible layer upon which the light source is mounted can be a flexible metal such as a sheet of aluminum. If such a metal is used it serves in the dual role of being the basic building, or mounting, layer as well as the back electrical conducting layer. In the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 1 the basic building layer 11 is a flexible transparent plastic, such as Mylar, which can be used in a light source providing omni-directional light.

One surface of the layer 11 is roughed to provide good adherence and to this roughed side there is bonded a layer 13 of electroluminescent material. The electroluminescent material can be a combination of any of the well-known electroluminescent phosphors such as zinc sulphide, with a suitable activator such as copper powder, held in an appropriate vehicle such as epoxy resin. Other phosphors, activators and vehicles can obviously be used to effect different degrees of brightness, lamp life, and light color.

The layers 15 and 17 are the electrode layers necessary to provide an electrostatic field across the electroluminescent layer 13 to cause the emission of light therefrom. The layers 15 and 17 can take many forms, such as stainless steel mesh, if the electrode layers are to be transparent; or a conducting metal paint, if transparency is not a requirement; or vaporized metal which also permits transparency. In the preferred embodiment a coating of epoxy resin is applied to the electroluminescent layer 13, and a layer 17 of stainless steel 260 mesh is pressed into the epoxy resin, then the package is cured. If the final product is to be an ornament having omni-directional light then layer 15 is also, in the preferred embodiment, a layer of stainless steel 260 mesh, pressed into an epoxy resin and cured. On the other hand, if the final product is to have directed light, such as the maintenance light of FIG. 2 or the tape of FIGS. 5 and 6, then one electrode such as the layer 15 of FIG. 1 may be a layer of reflecting, conducting metal paint such as silver metal paint. Silver metal paint has the advantages of providing good conductivity and also of reflecting light.

In FIG. 1, for purposes of clarity in connection with the above description there is not shown any encapsulating layer as is shown by the potting material layer 19 of FIGS. 2 and 3. Such an encapsulating layer of course would be present with the embodiment of FIG. 1 in actual use to prevent electrical shocks to the user of the light.

In FIG. 2 the flexible light is shown pictorially to be partially rolled for placement into an area heretofore inaccessible. The layers 11, 13, 15 and 17 are, in the preferred embodiment, as described in connection with FIG. 1. The encapsulating material 19 can be, in addition to the popular potting materials, two layers of Mylar, or polyester film, which are sealed at the edges. The encapsulating material needs to be transparent, have high electrical insulation qualities, and flexible. The light packages of FIGS. 1 and 2 show the electrode layers 15 and 17 connected to a source of A.-C. voltage 21.

In FIG. 3 the feature of particularly shaping the light package is depicted by a Christmas tree ornament 23, in the form of a star. The layers 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19 are again shown and are of the same material as discussed above in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2. In the ornament of FIG. 3 the electrode layers 15 and 17 would both be transparent. In addition in FIG. 3 there is shown a layer 25 of color selected photoluminescent material. The layer 25 provides a selected color to the ornament 23 in accordance with the principle discussed in my copending US. patent application entitled Indicia Bearing Device, Serial No. 796,876, filed March 3, 1959. The layer 25 could in fact be multicolored layers of photoluminescent material to provide a multicolored ornament. A hook 27 is provided, connected to the plastic layer 11 for hanging the ornament. As depicted in FIG. 3 the wires 29 to the electrode layers 15 and 17 are simply connected without a socket to the parallel wire 31 available around the tree, thereby minimizing the distraction from the decoration, as suggested above, which is attributal to electrical connections. Obviously, for interchangeability of the ornament, a plug can be provided at the parallel wire 31 level. Such last-mentioned arrangement however does keep the connection away from the ornament proper to insure the full decorative effect of the ornament.

FIG. 4 shows the invention in a decorative-utility role. The name plates can be photo-printed according to the technique described in my Patent No. 2,382,806, entitled Synthetic Plastic Articles and Methods of Making the Same, issued August 14, 1945. The name plates will then reflect some predetermined color in the natural light, for instance the color White, and at night will be illuminated with the light emitted from the light source in back of the name display plate.

In FIG. there is shown the present inventive flexible light source in the form of tape 33 which is mounted on a drum 35. The drum 35 is rotated by the shaft 37, while simultaneously the numerals on the tape 33 are illuminated. The layers making up the light package (tape 33) are not shown in FIG. 5 but it is to be understood that the layers include two electrodes with a layer of electroluminescent material mounted on a flexible plastic base sandwiched between the electrodes (such as shown in FIG. 2). In addition, there is mounted over the trans parent electrode an additional layer of flexible opaque material, which has numerals cut therefrom or formed therein, to enable the light to pass through in the numeral areas and thereby provide illuminated numerals. In FIG. 5 the electrical connections are not shown, for purposes of simplicity, but is to be understood that the power supply leads are connected to a commutator arrangement to provide electrical power to the electroluminescent layer during rotation. As the drum rotates the illuminated numerals are seen in the window 39 or" the housing. Such an arrangement has utility in disc-type meters where an illumination, for instance during night operations, is re quired.

In FIG. 6 a tape arrangement 41 of the flexible light source is shown driven by two sprockets 43 and 45 in a fashion similar to a movie projector. The tape can be extremely long. The tape 41 includes all the layers described in connection with the tape of FIG. 5, and as did the tape in FIG. 5, the tape 41 includes an additional layer of opaque flexible material such as black Mylar, with numerals cut therefrom. In addition the tape shown in FIG. 6 has found great utility wherein there is also provided a multicolored layer of photoluminescent material disposed beneath the opaque material, that is, between the transparent electrode of the electroluminescent lamp and the opaque material with the cut-out letters. The utility becomes apparent it, for instance, the tape 41 number thirty-two represented a critical temperature and the sprockets 43 and 45 were driven by a temperature control. The photoluminescent material can be color arranged so that as the tape number forty appeared a warning color also would be seen and the numbers down to 32 would appear in greater degrees of severe warning colors (pink to red). As was suggested in connection with the description of FIG. 5, the tape 41 is connected electrically through a commutator arrangement to provide the A.-C. voltage across the electroluminescent layer of the tape.

While I have described above the principles of my invention in connection with specific apparatus, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation to the scope of my invention as set forth in the objects thereof and in the accompanying claims.

I claim:

1. A light source having a flexible housing comprising a layer of polyester film having first and second sides; a plurality of electroluminescent phosphors held in a flexible layer of epoxy resin material, said layer of epoxy resin having first and second sides and having its second side bonded to the first side of said polyester film; a first flexible electrode means bonded to said first side of said layer of epoxy resin; a second flexible electrode means bonded to said second side of said polyester film, at least one of said electrodes being transparent; and means coupled to said first and second electrode means for connecting thereacross a source of voltage to pass an electrostatic field through said electroluminescent material for causing radiation of luminous energy therefrom.

2. A light source which is flexible comprising:

a layer of polyester film having first and second sides, said first side being formed rough to provide a good bonding surface;

a plurality of electroluminescent phosphors held in a flexible layer of epoxy resin material, said layer of epoxy resin having first and second Sides and having its second side bonded to the first side of said polyester film;

a first flexible transparent electrode means having one side secured to said first side of said layers of epoxy resin;

a second flexible electrode means secured to said second side of said layer of polyester film;

means coupled to said first and second flexible electrodes for connecting thereacross a source of voltage to pass an electrostatic field through said electroluminescent phosphors for causing radiation of an exciting light therefrom;

a flexible layer of color selected photoluminescent material having a first and second side with its second side bonded to the other side of said first flexible transparent electrode to receive and be excited by said exciting light, thereby in turn to radiate a fluorescent light having a frequency significant of said selected color, to be visible from the first side of said photoluminescent material.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,387,512 Hilberg Oct. 23, 1945 2,733,367 Gillson Jan. 31, 1956 2,774,004 Jaffe Dec. 11 1956 2,863,711 Hurvitz Dec. 9, 1958 2,921,218 Larach et al June 21, 1960 2,944,177 Piper July 5. 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,155,597 France Dec. 2, 1957

Claims (1)

1. A LIGHT SOURCE HAVING A FLEXIBLE HOUSING COMPRISING A LAYER OF POLYESTER FILM HAVING FIRST AND SECOND SIDES; A PLURALITY OF ELECTROLUMINESCENT PHOSPHORS HELD IN A FLEXIBLE LAYER OF EPOXY RESIN MATERIAL, SAID LAYER OF EPOXY RESIN HAVING FIRST AND SECOND SIDES AND HAVING ITS SECOND SIDE BONDED TO THE FIRST SIDE OF SAID POLYESTER FILM; A FIRST FLEXIBLE ELECTRODE MEANS BONDED TO SAID FIRST SIDE OF SAID LAYER OF EPOXY RESIN; A SECOND FLEXIBLE ELECTRODE MEANS BONDED TO SAID SECOND SIDE OF SAID POLYESTER FILM, AT LEAST
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Cited By (30)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3212080A (en) * 1962-02-07 1965-10-12 Madigan Electronic Corp Electroluminescent panel controlled by doorbell switch
US3273477A (en) * 1963-12-31 1966-09-20 Haart Inc De Random events camera and method
US3274419A (en) * 1962-01-23 1966-09-20 Dow Chemical Co Flexible electroluminescent lamp having transparent metal-coated strands as the light transmitting electrode
US3308290A (en) * 1964-09-21 1967-03-07 George D Brown Electroluminescent lamp shade and lamp
US3317722A (en) * 1965-04-26 1967-05-02 Frances L Whitney Electroluminescent lamp
US3317728A (en) * 1964-07-14 1967-05-02 Stromberg Carlson Corp Electroluminescent display device using plastic foam
US3350610A (en) * 1963-03-16 1967-10-31 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Electric charge storage elements
US3455272A (en) * 1966-12-30 1969-07-15 Boeing Co Position reference apparatus
US3571654A (en) * 1967-12-28 1971-03-23 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Electroluminescent display system including a preselectably applied low resistance material means
US3749977A (en) * 1970-12-29 1973-07-31 Intern Scanning Devices Inc Electroluminescent device
US4103171A (en) * 1975-12-09 1978-07-25 Schroeder Becky J Portable cartridge contained electroluminescent sheet for reading and writing in the dark
NL7800886A (en) * 1977-01-27 1978-07-31 Atkins & Merrill High temperature resistant, encapsulated electroluminescent lamp.
US4237381A (en) * 1978-07-24 1980-12-02 Schroeder Becky J Multilayered electroluminescent light assembly adaptable for reading and writing in the dark
US4266164A (en) * 1977-05-16 1981-05-05 Schroeder Becky J Electroluminescent backing sheet for reading and writing in the dark
US4340817A (en) * 1979-07-16 1982-07-20 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Signal element without a lamp
US4439818A (en) * 1983-02-25 1984-03-27 Scheib Joseph J Flexible light display with evenly distributed illumination
US4733488A (en) * 1984-02-29 1988-03-29 Nippon Seiki Co., Ltd. Decorative display apparatus
US4734617A (en) * 1986-06-02 1988-03-29 Sidney Jacobs Electroluminescent display and method of making same
US4761720A (en) * 1987-05-14 1988-08-02 Wolo Manufacturing Corporation Illuminated tape
US5021928A (en) * 1982-09-29 1991-06-04 Maurice Daniel Flat panel illumination system
DE4300819A1 (en) * 1993-01-15 1994-07-21 Peter Josef Korzilius Soehne G Cladding element with illuminating strip
US5339550A (en) * 1992-04-16 1994-08-23 Peter Hoffman Illuminated sign and method of assembly
US5469020A (en) * 1994-03-14 1995-11-21 Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Flexible large screen display having multiple light emitting elements sandwiched between crossed electrodes
US5533289A (en) * 1992-04-16 1996-07-09 I.D. Lite, Inc. Illuminated sign
US5565733A (en) * 1992-12-16 1996-10-15 Durel Corporation Electroluminescent modular lamp unit
WO1998003962A1 (en) * 1996-07-23 1998-01-29 Junkyard Dogs, Ltd. Electroluminescent display apparatus
DE29722250U1 (en) * 1997-12-17 1998-03-12 Magna Zippex Autotechnik Gmbh Profile of plastic and / or rubber with integrated, electric lamp
US6069444A (en) * 1992-12-16 2000-05-30 Durel Corporation Electroluminescent lamp devices and their manufacture
US6200004B1 (en) * 1998-03-31 2001-03-13 Quality Manufacturing Incorporated Light diffuser device
US20050135080A1 (en) * 2003-12-23 2005-06-23 Winsor Corporation Multi-use photoluminescent lamp having integral support structures and method of making the same

Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2387512A (en) * 1942-02-10 1945-10-23 Du Pont Luminescent adhesive tape
US2733367A (en) * 1956-01-31 Electroluminescent lamp structures
US2774004A (en) * 1953-04-08 1956-12-11 Gen Electric Flexible electroluminescent laminated panel
FR1155597A (en) * 1955-07-08 1958-05-06 Westinghouse Electric Corp fluorescent material responsive to an electric field and preparation method
US2863711A (en) * 1955-04-18 1958-12-09 Hurvitz Hyman Recording
US2921218A (en) * 1956-03-01 1960-01-12 Rca Corp Electroluminescent devices
US2944177A (en) * 1958-04-28 1960-07-05 Gen Electric Electroluminescent cell and method of making the same

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2733367A (en) * 1956-01-31 Electroluminescent lamp structures
US2387512A (en) * 1942-02-10 1945-10-23 Du Pont Luminescent adhesive tape
US2774004A (en) * 1953-04-08 1956-12-11 Gen Electric Flexible electroluminescent laminated panel
US2863711A (en) * 1955-04-18 1958-12-09 Hurvitz Hyman Recording
FR1155597A (en) * 1955-07-08 1958-05-06 Westinghouse Electric Corp fluorescent material responsive to an electric field and preparation method
US2921218A (en) * 1956-03-01 1960-01-12 Rca Corp Electroluminescent devices
US2944177A (en) * 1958-04-28 1960-07-05 Gen Electric Electroluminescent cell and method of making the same

Cited By (36)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3274419A (en) * 1962-01-23 1966-09-20 Dow Chemical Co Flexible electroluminescent lamp having transparent metal-coated strands as the light transmitting electrode
US3212080A (en) * 1962-02-07 1965-10-12 Madigan Electronic Corp Electroluminescent panel controlled by doorbell switch
US3350610A (en) * 1963-03-16 1967-10-31 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Electric charge storage elements
US3273477A (en) * 1963-12-31 1966-09-20 Haart Inc De Random events camera and method
US3317728A (en) * 1964-07-14 1967-05-02 Stromberg Carlson Corp Electroluminescent display device using plastic foam
US3308290A (en) * 1964-09-21 1967-03-07 George D Brown Electroluminescent lamp shade and lamp
US3317722A (en) * 1965-04-26 1967-05-02 Frances L Whitney Electroluminescent lamp
US3455272A (en) * 1966-12-30 1969-07-15 Boeing Co Position reference apparatus
US3571654A (en) * 1967-12-28 1971-03-23 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Electroluminescent display system including a preselectably applied low resistance material means
US3749977A (en) * 1970-12-29 1973-07-31 Intern Scanning Devices Inc Electroluminescent device
US4103171A (en) * 1975-12-09 1978-07-25 Schroeder Becky J Portable cartridge contained electroluminescent sheet for reading and writing in the dark
NL7800886A (en) * 1977-01-27 1978-07-31 Atkins & Merrill High temperature resistant, encapsulated electroluminescent lamp.
US4266164A (en) * 1977-05-16 1981-05-05 Schroeder Becky J Electroluminescent backing sheet for reading and writing in the dark
US4237381A (en) * 1978-07-24 1980-12-02 Schroeder Becky J Multilayered electroluminescent light assembly adaptable for reading and writing in the dark
US4340817A (en) * 1979-07-16 1982-07-20 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Signal element without a lamp
US5021928A (en) * 1982-09-29 1991-06-04 Maurice Daniel Flat panel illumination system
US4439818A (en) * 1983-02-25 1984-03-27 Scheib Joseph J Flexible light display with evenly distributed illumination
US4733488A (en) * 1984-02-29 1988-03-29 Nippon Seiki Co., Ltd. Decorative display apparatus
US4734617A (en) * 1986-06-02 1988-03-29 Sidney Jacobs Electroluminescent display and method of making same
US4761720A (en) * 1987-05-14 1988-08-02 Wolo Manufacturing Corporation Illuminated tape
US5516387A (en) * 1992-04-16 1996-05-14 I.D. Lite, Inc. Illuminated sign and method of assembly
US5339550A (en) * 1992-04-16 1994-08-23 Peter Hoffman Illuminated sign and method of assembly
US5367806A (en) * 1992-04-16 1994-11-29 Hoffman; Peter Illuminated sign
US5471773A (en) * 1992-04-16 1995-12-05 Hoffman; Peter Illuminated sign
US5497572A (en) * 1992-04-16 1996-03-12 Hoffman; Peter Illuminated sign and method of assembly
US5533289A (en) * 1992-04-16 1996-07-09 I.D. Lite, Inc. Illuminated sign
US6069444A (en) * 1992-12-16 2000-05-30 Durel Corporation Electroluminescent lamp devices and their manufacture
US5811930A (en) * 1992-12-16 1998-09-22 Durel Corporation Electroluminescent lamp devices and their manufacture
US5565733A (en) * 1992-12-16 1996-10-15 Durel Corporation Electroluminescent modular lamp unit
DE4300819A1 (en) * 1993-01-15 1994-07-21 Peter Josef Korzilius Soehne G Cladding element with illuminating strip
US5469020A (en) * 1994-03-14 1995-11-21 Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Flexible large screen display having multiple light emitting elements sandwiched between crossed electrodes
WO1998003962A1 (en) * 1996-07-23 1998-01-29 Junkyard Dogs, Ltd. Electroluminescent display apparatus
DE29722250U1 (en) * 1997-12-17 1998-03-12 Magna Zippex Autotechnik Gmbh Profile of plastic and / or rubber with integrated, electric lamp
US6200004B1 (en) * 1998-03-31 2001-03-13 Quality Manufacturing Incorporated Light diffuser device
US20050135080A1 (en) * 2003-12-23 2005-06-23 Winsor Corporation Multi-use photoluminescent lamp having integral support structures and method of making the same
US7128439B2 (en) * 2003-12-23 2006-10-31 Winsor Corporation Multi-use planar photoluminescent lamp and method of making such lamp

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