Where and how can these devices be used?

The range of applications for these devices is limited only by the imagination. From marking an exit route underground to locating your survival pack on a mountain. From marking a safe path around your bivvy to identifying the start button on a diesel generator. Whenever you need to find your equipment or your way in the dark, there is a cost-effective, reliable and safe Firefly product that will do the job. Our products are routinely used in the following areas:

  • Outdoors … activities such as climbing, orienteering, camping and caving
  • Indoors … marking of light switches, stairways and essential items such as medicine cabinets
  • In the air … on aircraft and associated equipment such as air ambulance deployed medical hardware
  • At sea … exit and directional markers on leisure and working boats
  • Underground … providing permanent visible marking of waypoint and hazard locations
  • Fire safety and directional signs ... particularly for cinemas, heritage buildings and in hazardous areas
  • Night games … tactical markers in airsoft and other real game applications
Where did the technology come from?

Trigalight® GTLS technology was developed originally by the British MOD for applications in aviation. Original designs included helicopter rotor-tip markers (for night formation flying) directional markers, exit signage and in-flight refueling markers. These applications demonstrate the tough, durable nature of GTLS light sources, being deployed in extremely adverse environmental conditions yet delivering stable, specified performance over the long term. Recognising the benefits to manufacturers and users, the technology was utilised in many more MOD applications for use in the air, at sea and on land. Today, GTLS are still used in many military sighting and instrument applications including the SUSAT sight, carrier sights and standard-issue compasses.

Why select trigalight® technology?

A trigalight® provides a safe, reliable and cost-effective source of continuous light over a service life of many years. Irrespective of weather conditions, temperature, altitude and humidity, trigalights will operate normally, providing versatile visual aids to help the user locate equipment, paths and positions in the dark. Nine colour options enable markers to be assigned differing functions.

trigalight® are Gaseous Tritium Light Sources (GTLS) manufactured in Bern, Switzerland by MB Microtec AG. Information on the company and details of their extensive product range can be viewed at www.mbmicrotec.com                   

  • Excellent reliability, particularly in extreme environmental conditions
  • Flexibility … no battery, power supply or charging needed
  • Enhanced efficiency … trigalight luminance does not affect the user’s ‘night eyes’
  • Easy to use … no switches or moving parts
  • Very low cost of ownership … no maintenance or spare parts required
  • Nine visible light colour options enable users to differentiate functions

A trigalight® generates radioluminescent light, therefore no charging or switching is required. Unlike photoluminescent and chemiluminescent devices, they will continue to glow for many years, even during prolonged periods of complete darkness. No electrical power supply is needed, so there is no need to check and replace batteries. Nor is any maintenance required.

A trigalight® comprises just three components; gaseous tritium, phosphor and borosilicate glass. Each trigalight® utilises beta-particle emissions resulting from tritium decay as the energy source for light production. Tritium gas is held captive within a sealed glass vessel, coated on its internal surfaces with a fine phosphor powder. Electrons emitted by the tritium come into direct contact with and energise the phosphor, resulting in the phosphor being energized and producing continuous light output. This light is able to pass through the glass vessel walls to be harnessed in its illumination application. Light wavelength can be controlled by chemical doping of the phosphor, resulting in nine visible colours being available: green, yellow, orange, red, blue, white, ice-blue, purple and pink.

What is the relative brightness of the nine Trigalight colours?

The output, or luminance, of the various trigalight® colours varies. In the green and yellow spectral range, the human eye is very sensitive and therefore these colours appear to be the brightest. The table below shows the relative luminance intensities as perceived by the eye for the nine colour options, relative to green (the brightest) which is shown as 100%.


What is a trigalight®?

A trigalight® is a self-powered Gaseous Tritium Light Source (GTLS). Completely independent of any external energy source, a trigalight uses radioluminescence to generate light. Absolutely reliable throughout a service life of up to 15 years. Continuously illuminated, even during prolonged periods of darkness. Free from service and maintenance throughout its life … no spare parts required.

trigalight® GTLS are lightweight and compact. As a sealed source, a trigalight® is a non-emissive device, providing a safe and uniquely reliable source of light. Used widely in safety applications within the transport, defence and instrumentation sectors where the identification of equipment or personnel in darken is essential, these light sources offer tremendous benefits to the user in terms of performance and value.

What is Tritium?

Tritium, symbol T or H-3 is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. trigalight® devices utilise tritium in its gaseous form. Trace amounts of naturally occurring tritium found in the environment are formed by the interaction of the atmosphere with cosmic rays. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons. In its unstable state, tritium decays to non-radioactive helium-3, in the process emitting a beta-particle (also known as an electron) These electrons, produced during the transition of tritium to helium, are the power source for trigalights®.

How is light generated?

As the gaseous tritium decays, electrons emitted during the decay process come into contact with the phosphor coating and cause it to glow. The energy levels involved are very low, but sufficient to generate a continuous light output. The process is similar in principle to that of a fluorescent light tube, but involving very much lower levels of energy.

How do they perform?

Light emitted by a trigalight® can be produced in several colours in the visible spectrum (green, yellow, orange, red, blue, ice-blue, white, purple and pink) as well as in infra-red. Light output is linear and follows a straight line to a half-life of 7.5 years. They require no external electrical supply (from mains or battery) nor do they need to be charged by ambient light. Trigalight® performance is predictable through their service life whether or not installed in permanent darkness and irrespective of environmental conditions.

How safe is a trigalight®?

Because a trigalight® is non-emissive and utilises very low levels of energy, they are safe to use in a range of applications. For example, GTLS technology is type-approved for use in fire safety signs for the workplace under HSE Certificate of Approval No TA2.

Gaseous tritium produces electrons that are of sufficiently low energy as to be unable to breach a sheet of paper or to penetrate human skin. Nevertheless, care must be taken when handling these devices to avoid breakage and subsequent ingestion of residual gaseous tritium. Detailed information addressing aspects of human safety relating to GTLS is available upon request.

Can I use a trigalight® in hazardous areas?

Yes, trigalights® are inert devices and can be used in zone 0 hazardous areas.

How long does a trigalight® last?

trigalights® have a visual half-life of 7.5 years. Their service life depends very much upon the application being considered.  For watches, the useful service life is as long as 20 years while for tactical devices such as torches, the practical service life is considered by most users to be in the region of 10 years.

How weatherproof is a trigalight®?

They will operate normally in any environmental conditions; in temperatures ranging between -40° to 70°C irrespective of humidity, even when immersed in water.

Do trigalights® require spare parts or maintenance?

No service or technical maintenance is required by trigalight® devices throughout their service life.

Do trigalights® require charging by ambient light?

No, trigalights® do not require any charging with light or electricity. They operate completely independently of any external power or energy supply.

Do trigalights® need to be switched on & off?

No, from the moment that the production process is completed, a trigalight® will emit its continuous stream of light, regardless of environmental conditions. No switching on/off is needed, therefore there are no switches on a trigalight® device.

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