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Energy saving ceramic metal halide lamps suitable for probe-start and pulse-start systems.


Energy conservation and preservation of natural resources are recognized as a top priority to protect the environment and global climate. Lighting consumes approximately 22 percent of the electrical energy generated in the U.S. (US Dept. of Energy 2002). Among the electricity consumed by lighting, approximately 15 percent of the energy is consumed by High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. (US Dept. of Energy 2002) In the future, development and introduction of new energy saving HID lamps is vital to reduce lighting energy consumption.

High-Intensity Discharge lamps include High Pressure-Sodium, Mercury Vapor, and Metal Halide lamps. These lamps are widely used in variety of lighting applications including indoor, outdoor, and high bay applications ranging from 20 watts to 2000 watts. Even though the Low-Pressure Sodium lamp provides the highest efficacy, it is the least popular lamp within the HID category stemming from its dreary mono-chromatic appearance. Mercury Vapor is gradually being phased out in the U.S. due to its low efficacy. While the High Pressure-Sodium lamp has high efficacies that lie within the 100 to 150 lumens per watt range, the apparent yellow-orange color limits its application where white light is desirable. In these areas, Metal Halide lamps that provide white light, high efficiency and long life are dominant.


Metal Halide lamps include probe-start (also known as switch-start) quartz metal halide (QMH) lamps, pulse-start quartz metal halide lamps, and ceramic discharge metal halide (CDM) lamps. They have high efficacies from 75 lumens per watt to 125 lumens per watt, and white light with a correlated color temperature from 3000 K to 6500 K. In recent years, development efforts have been made in ceramic metal halide technology to further enhance the efficiency and performance (Tu and others 2009). The probe-start metal halide lamp has a discharge tube made of quartz glass. The lamps have an auxiliary electrode (probe) and a bi-metal switch to aid with establishing the initial discharge. The combination of a starting probe and low pressure of argon-mercury Penning mixture makes it possible to start the lamp without high voltage pulses. These lamps have initial high efficacy and long life. The QMH lamp has two main drawbacks; low lumen maintenance and large color shift that the end-users often want to see improved (Deng and others 2004).

In the 1990's, a new quartz metal halide lamp, the so called pulse-start lamp was developed (Nortrup and others 1996). The arc tubes for the pulse-start lamps have higher argon fill pressure than probe-start lamps which reduces the tungsten sputtering and evaporation to reduce wall blackening and improve lumen maintenance. The combination of lamp and ballast improvements enhances the overall system efficiency, which in turn results in an increasing trend to use pulse-start lamps and ballasts in new installations. However, the large color variation from lamp to lamp and color shift over life remains more or less the same for the quartz probe-start lamp. It is also found that the improvement in lumen maintenance for the pulse-start lamps operating on conventional magnetic ballasts is small.

In the 1990's, ceramic discharge metal halide lamps were developed and commercialized in the North American marketplace (Carleton and others 1997). The cylindrical-shaped discharge arc tube for these lamps is made of translucent polycrystalline alumina that can withstand very high metal iodide salt temperatures (about 300[degrees]C higher than quartz glass). The enhanced arc tube wall temperature with better chemical resistance widens the salt selections and applications for improved efficacy and color properties. The chemical fillings for the first generation of ceramic metal halide lamps usually include sodium iodide, thallium iodide, rare earth iodides, and calcium iodide, depending on the desired color temperatures. These lamps provide excellent color consistency, high color rendering properties, and long life. Moreover, the lumen maintenance is remarkably improved. The applications for the medium wattage (MW) lamps in the NA market can be divided into two categories: low voltage (100V) ceramic lamps (CRI=90) that are designed to retrofit into yellow high pressure sodium installations (CRI = 20), and 135V metal halide replacement lamps that directly retrofit into quartz pulse-start metal halide sockets (Gibson 2004). However, these ceramic metal halide lamps are designed to operate on pulse-start ballasts only. There are an estimated 40 million MH sockets in the field (NEMA 2008) and the majority of these are of the probe-start variety.

A new family of medium wattage (MW) ceramic discharge metal halide lamps that operate on new efficient electronic ballasts was recently developed (Tu and others 2009). By utilizing new chemical fillings and an optimized arc tube shape, the next generation MW ceramic metal halide lamps have high efficacy up to 123 lumens per watt, excellent lumen and color maintenance and long service life. Furthermore, the lamps are dimmable, compact and suitable for universal operation. These lamps are ideal for new installations but not for the existing systems.


Standard metal halide lamps are designed to operate at nominal power. In order to save energy, several HID lamps that operate at lower power than the nominal are available in the marketplace. Two examples are quartz metal halide 360 watt and high pressure sodium 225 watt and 360 watt lamps, which operate on metal halide 400 watt and high pressure sodium 250 watt and 400 watt ballasts respectively, to save 10 percent energy (Ramaiah 1994). The method for energy saving for these two lamps is to reduce the mercury dose and thus reduce the lamp voltage in order to operate the lamp below the nominal wattage. The chemical additives remain the same and thus the power factor is unchanged. For example, the energy saving quartz metal halide 360 watt lamp operating on 400 watt ballast has a nominal lamp voltage of 120 V as compared to the nominal voltage of 135 V for the 400 watt lamp based on the equation below:

Lamp Operating Power = Lamp Volts * Lamp Current * Power Factor (1)

This method has the limitation for energy savings due to the low limit of the lamp voltage specified in ANSI (American National Standard Institute). When designing a lamp that has more than 10 percent energy savings, the lamp voltage will be outside the ANSI requirements and ballast losses could become significantly increased.


As mentioned earlier, the current generation of ceramic lamps can only operate on pulse-start systems which limits the application on the majority of the installed base of MH systems in the field. In order to realize high efficiency and excellent color properties, efforts have been made in the lighting industry to develop a ceramic lamp that can start on probe-start systems (Ramaiah and others 2004), with a dual feed-through ceramic arc tube that makes a starting electrode and bi-metal switch possible. However, it is very complex and difficult to make and seal these dual feed-through arc tubes. To date, no commercial ceramic lamps are available in this configuration. A high efficacy ceramic metal halide 360 watt lamp is available in the marketplace that is a retrofit on mercury vapor gear. This lamp is self-starting via a built-in ceramic capacitor which has ferro-electric properties (FEC) (Maehara and others 2007). However, the capacitor is heat sensitive and also costly, which limits its application. High-pressure sodium lamps have also been developed that can start on the mercury vapor ballasts using either an internal ignition aid, such as a glow bottle and resistor that generates a high voltage pulse in the ballast secondary winding, or by the use of a neon-argon penning mixture and starting antenna that together result in a suitably low breakdown voltage for lamps to reliably start (Richardson 1975). These HPS lamps however, do not provide the desired color attributes of the ceramic metal halide lamp.

In this paper, a new family of energy saving ceramic metal halide lamps suitable to operate on probe-start and pulse-start ballast is presented.


To meet the demand of energy saving metal halide lamps that are able to operate on either probe-start or pulse-start systems while achieving excellent lamp properties, new medium wattage ceramic metal halide lamps are developed. The novel lamps utilize the latest ceramic metal halide technology and optimal arc tube design as well as a chemical additive with a lower power factor to realize 18 percent energy reduction. The lamps are suitable to operate on probe-start and pulse-start 400 watt and 250 watt ballasts while meeting the ANSI requirements and without sacrificing ballast lifetimes.


The new energy saving lamp uses a rugby-ball shape ceramic arc tube that has been proven to have low thermal stress and low temperature gradient (Tu and others 2009). The uniform wall thickness and the absence of relatively heavy arc tube end-plugs make the arc tube robust. The lamp also uses less corrosive chemical additives. With new chemical additives and proper arc tube design, a tungsten cycle, also known as tungsten regeneration is realized to reduce the wall blackening and achieve excellent lumen maintenance (Suijker 1999, Tu and others 2007). An efficient neon-argon penning gas mixture is used as a starting gas to lower breakdown voltage. Furthermore, the chemical additives have a lower power factor than the sodium-scandium iodides to realize an 18 percent energy reduction when retrofitting on quartz metal halide systems. The arc tube design, including the electrode distance and gas pressure, are optimized to assure reliable lamp ignition on probe-start ballast in all conditions including cold and dark environment at -30[degrees]C. Unlike the prior art (Ramaiah and others, 2004) that requires a starting probe and bi-metal switch to operate on probestart systems, the new technologically advanced energy saving lamp eliminates the need of starting probe within the arc tube and bi-metal switch inside the lamp while achieving reliably starting on both probe-start and pulse-start systems.


When designing a lamp to operate at lower power on magnetic systems, there are two methods that have been employed. In Equation (1) it can be observed that the lamp power is controlled by not only the current (determined by the intrinsic ballast impedance), but by both the lamp voltage and power factor. In commercially available QMH 360 watt lamps (M165) that operate on QMH400 watt systems (M59), the lower power is achieved by operating at a lower nominal lamp voltage of 120 volts rather than 135 volts. In other lamps, such as energy saving high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps for operation on mercury vapor ballasts, the lower power of the HPS lamps is a result of their power factor less than 0.85 compared with 0.93 for the mercury vapor lamps (Ravi and others 1993). Quartz metal halide lamps also have a power factor typically 0.88 or higher. In both of these examples, the power saving is limited to about ten percent. In the present energy saving CDM lamp, advantage is taken of both the naturally low lamp power factor and a slightly reduced lamp voltage to operate the lamps to eighteen percent below the conventional power of the QMH system that it replaces. Figure 1 shows schematically how this energy saving works on a CWA (constant wattage autotransformer) ballast. Shown are the lamp powers vs. the lamp voltage for a QMH lamp (power factor 0.89) and for a CDM lamp (power factor 0.81). The operating point for the 120 V 360 watt lamp is also indicated. Note that to achieve the same power savings with a QMH lamp, the voltage would have to be well below the ANSI minimum voltage requirements for that ballast. It is shown in a separate study that the lamp energy savings reported in this study translates to nearly equivalent system energy savings (Gibson and Steere 2009).



Several considerations were taken into account when determining the lamp power to design for. First, the need to maximize the power savings was paramount. However, to minimize any impact on the ballast, there was the desire to stay within the ANSI designated limits and design lamps that would operate at the lower bounds. For the 400 watt (M59 and M155) ballast, the range is 320-480 watts, while for the 250 watt (M58 and M153) the range is 200-300 watts. Some of the lower power is achieved by virtue of the lower power factor for the CDM lamps (the ballast power factor at the mains input is not significantly changed), the remainder is by choosing a nominal voltage that is 5 to 10 volts below that of the lamp to be replaced. Lamps made with a deliberate range of voltages were measured on a collection of several different commercial CWA ballasts at their rated primary input voltage. A plot of the energy savings CDM lamp power vs. lamp voltage is shown in Fig. 2. The spread in data is a result of a spread in lamp voltages, as well as a spread in ballast impedances.


On purely inductive types of ballasts, such as reactors and magnetically regulated lag types, the lamps tend to operate at approximately 10-15 watts higher and energy savings tend to be less. This is a result of the different power factors on a CWA ballast compared to that on a reactor ballast. This difference in power factors between CWA and reactor ballasts for QMH and CDM lamp is illustrated in Table 1.


The lamp construction takes into account the variety of systems that the lamps may retrofit onto. These systems maybe open (O), or enclosed (E), probe-start or switch-start, CWA, reactor, or regulated lag (also known a magnetic regulated) ballast types, and finally, operation in all positions. For retrofit onto 400W QMH systems, the 330 watt lamp is in an elliptical ED37 bulb with the same light center length as the QMH400W lamp. The 205 watt version is mounted in an ED28 bulb. A quartz shroud with a molybdenum coil and heavy walled outer bulb allow the lamps to be rated for both open or enclosed fixtures. The extended eyelet mogul base can be used in sockets designed to accommodate only lamps rated for open fixtures as well as conventional sockets. The electrode separation for the CDM lamps is shorter than that found in QMH lamps, 10 and 12 mm compared with approximately 34 and 45 mm respectively. This can result in some differences in the light distributions between these two types. In certain critical applications, the resulting light distributions should be evaluated. Fig. 3 shows pictures of the 330 watt and 205 watt CDM energy saving lamps.



A critical aspect of any retrofit lamp is its ability to start on existing systems, and do so reliably. In QMH lamps, the use of argon as a starting gas is aided by the Penning effect from the low but present vapor pressure of Hg, and the presence of a starting probe. Additional components consisting of a bimetal switch and resistor are part of the lamps internal starting circuit. The present approach, used in this ceramic energy savings retrofit lamp, is to take advantage of the low breakdown voltage of the Penning mixture of neon-argon (Ne/Ar). This mixture is not new to ceramic lamps; it has been used in conjunction with starting antennas and additional starting circuitry in HPS and some ceramic metal halide lamps for retrofit starting on mercury vapor ballasts (Ravi and others 1993, Richardson 1975, Nishiura and others 2005). In pulse-start ceramic metal halide lamps, the use of argon with trace amounts of [Kr.sup.85] is utilized to improve reliability of starting (Lister and others 2004). In the present lamps, the greatest degree of reliable starting has been achieved by utilizing a neon-argon penning mixture, together with trace amount of Kr (85). Fig. 4 shows the measured peak breakdown voltage distributions for 330 watt lamps made with Ar/[Kr.sup.85], Ne/Ar Penning mixture, and Ne/Ar/[Kr.sup.85] measured after 100 hours of operation. It can be seen that the lowest starting voltage is with the Ne/Ar/[Kr.sup.85] Penning mixture.


Starting requirements for QMH 250 and 400 watt probe-start lamps based on ANSI standards (ANSI 2007) for new lamps state that 98 percent of new lamps start within 2 minutes under a minimum applied peak voltage of 495 V. At 100 hours, 90 percent of all lamps are to start within 2 minutes at -30[degrees]C under a minimum applied peak voltage of 540 V. New and 100-hour aged lamps were tested in this manner and met these requirements as demonstrated in Fig. 5. In some ballast types such as regulated lag (also known as magnetic regulated lag) where the peak voltage is below 495 volts, pulse ignitors are employed. Lamps also start reliably when operated on pulse-start systems, such as the M153 (250W) and the M155 (400W). Although not expressly presented, starting results for the CDM 205 watt lamp are consistent with the data presented for the CDM 330 watt lamp.

Hot restrike time is another aspect of starting. As with other ceramic discharge lamps, the restrike time may be longer than for quartz lamps (Gibson 2004). Table 2 shows typical maximum hot restrike times for the CDM and QMH lamps on probe-start and pulse-start systems.


As with any lamp development, there are always design trade offs to achieve the balance of performance, reliability, and functionality necessary for a successful product. This is especially true for lamps designed to retrofit onto existing systems. Commercial and technical viability for ceramic metal halide lamps that provide up to 123 lumens per watt (lm/W) with a CRI greater than 90, and that operate near the black body locus at 3000 or 4000 K color temperatures, have now been realized (Tu and others 2009). The present energy saving lamps take advantage of this technology platform where possible, but compromises on some aspects of performance must be made to achieve viable concepts capable of operation on the traditional magnetic ballasts installed base. For example, the use of neon-argon for starting on probe-start systems results in a higher arc tube wall temperature due to the higher thermal conductivity of neon. This leads to the use of a gas filled outer jacket. Additionally, the new designs incorporate a coiled quartz shroud for containment. Taken together, these aspects result in a lamp efficacy of approximately 100 Lm/W. It would be readily possible to match the initial luminous flux of the QMH lamps to be retrofit if the power savings were limited to ten percent. By taking advantage of the excellent lumen maintenance that ceramic lamps have demonstrated, even on magnetic systems (Gibson 2004), it is possible to save an average of eighteen percent by designing the lamp to equal or better the mean lumen performance of the quartz lamps to be replaced. The resulting performance in comparison to QMH lamps is the subject of the following sections.



Table 3 gives the average measured values for the new energy saving lamps along with values for the probe and pulse-start versions that can be replaced by the energy saving lamps. Also shown is the quartz metal halide lamp designed to operate on M59 ballast with a ten percent energy savings. Note that the position oriented lamps can be replaced by the universal energy savings ceramic lamps. The ceramic 205 watt and 330 watt lamps can retrofit 12 quartz lamp types providing energy savings of eighteen percent, higher CRI, excellent R9 values, better lumen maintenance, and in the case of the 205 watt, longer lifetime than current QMH 250 watt lamps on the market. The energy saving ceramic lamps are also suitable for open or enclosed fixtures.

The mean lumens for quartz products, at 40 percent of rated life, are typically 65 to 75 percent of the initial 100 hour value when operated on magnetic ballast systems. Lighting designers use these mean lumen values to establish the number of fixtures and layout required in an installation. While initial lumens for the energy saving ceramic lamps are slightly less than or equal to quartz products, the mean lumens are the same or better than the quartz products they replace. In Fig. 6 the luminous flux is plotted over time for the MH400/U, MH250/U and the energy saving ceramic discharge metal halide CDM330/U and CDM205/U lamps. Projections are based on typical experience with other CDM lamps operated on magnetic ballast systems.

The chemical fillings for the lamps produce a balanced spectral distribution across the visual wavelength range. This balanced radiation delivers a high color rendering index (CRI) of 85-90 and saturated red index of 40 or higher. A high saturated red index R9 is especially attractive for retail applications. The spectrum for a ceramic 205W lamp is plotted in Fig. 7. The R9 value for this lamp is 40 while the R9 value for the 330W is 70.



Another superior aspect of the energy saving ceramic lamps is that the color coordinates are close to the Black Body Line (BBL) in the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) chromaticity diagram. The light appears more natural and balanced when the color coordinates are close to the BBL. A plot of the x, y chromaticity coordinates for the energy savings 205W lamps for all read periods VBU and horizontal up to 2500 hours is shown in Fig. 8. One can see that the color coordinates for all lamps in vertical (VBU) position and in horizontal (HOR) position generally fall within a five SDCM ellipse. Also, the difference between vertical and horizontal lamps is small. The MPCD range is from -10 to + 10. Fig. 9 shows the diagram for the standard QMH250 watt lamp in a VBU position. The initial color temperature spread at 100 hours from lamp to lamp for quartz metal halide lamps is typically 200K to 300K. The color shift over life is even larger, typically in the range of 300K to 800K.



The new energy saving MW ceramic lamps not only have the same long lifetime rating for both horizontal and vertical orientations, but the light technical properties in both positions are also similar. The average color temperature difference from two positions for the ceramic 205W lamp is 100K, as seen above. For most quartz metal halide lamps, by contrast, the color properties are substantially different when changing the lamp orientation from vertical base-up (VBU) to horizontal (Lister and others 2004).


Due to their excellent features, the energy saving lamps will be ideal for a variety of medium wattage retrofit applications where white light is employed. Table 4 gives a few examples in outdoor, high bay industry, retail, and public lighting areas with an estimate in time for the lamps to pay for themselves in terms of energy savings. Depending on the number of hours the energy saving lamps are operated the actual savings may vary. Operating one ceramic 330 watt lamp for 8760 hours per year (24/7) instead of a MH400/U would save 709 KW-hr or $71 during the first year of operation at an energy cost of $.10/KW-hr. Operating one ceramic 205 watt lamp for 8760 hours instead of an MH250/U would save 385 KW-hr or $38.50 during the first year of operation. This estimate does not take into account additional power savings that result from the greater voltage rise and resulting power increase in QMH lamps compared to CDM lamps over life (Gibson and Steere 2009).

In addition to energy savings there can also be reduced replacement costs over the standard QMH lamps. Due to the improved maintenance and longer life as in the case of the ceramic 205 watt lamp, one ceramic 205 watt lamp has the potential of outlasting three QMH250 watt lamps during its lifetime assuming the latter would be changed out when its lumen depreciation reached 13,500 lumens (the mean lumens) as shown in Fig. 10. However the major factor to be considered in replacement is the labor costs necessary to change out the lamps. In this light, a return of investment calculation shows significant additional savings when using the energy saving ceramic lamps.


Finally, the energy saving ceramic lamps are compatible with both probe-start and pulse-start systems. In recent years, many new installations required pulse-start systems. Also legislation is requiring new systems to have high efficiency ballasts that are of the pulse-start variety (Public Law 2007). The energy savings ceramic lamps can reduce the number of various lamp types held in inventory to replace both probe-start and pulse-start QMH lamps, thus reducing inventory costs and making things simpler. Performance in universal operation further reduces inventory costs, because the ceramic lamps can be used in any position as Fig. 11 illustrates. Most of the light technical properties (LTP's) change less than five percent with a change of operating position. Lamp voltage changes 10 percent from VBU to HOR which reduces energy savings slightly, but is acceptable because the ceramic lamps have lower initial lamp voltages than their quartz counter parts, and furthermore, lamp voltage increase is minimal over lamp life (Gibson 2004).



Energy saving medium wattage ceramic discharge metal halide lamps that operate in a truly universal fashion have been developed. These technically advanced lamps have rare earth chemical fillings and an optimized arc tube shape with starting technology that allow operation on both probe and pulse start ballasts in any orientation at a substantial energy savings. Efficacy of 100 lumens per watt, good lumen maintenance, and long service life are expected. The typical CRI is 90 and saturated red color index (R9) is 40 or higher. Furthermore, the lamps are suitable for open or enclosed fixtures. With these improved features, the new family of energy savings medium wattage ceramic lamps is ideal for general retrofit lighting applications including outdoor, high bay industry, public spaces, and retail lighting.

doi: 10.1582/LEUKOS.2010.06.04002


ANSI ANSLG C78.43--2007.

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Corresponding Author: Steere.

Tom Steere, Ray Gibson, and Junming Tu, PhD

HID Development Laboratory, Philips Lighting, Bath, New York, USA

Typical Power Factors for
QMH and CDM Lamps on
CWA and Reactor Ballasts

Ballast Type              Lamp Power Factor
               QMH400/U   CDM330/U   QMH250/U   CDM205/U

CWA            0.89       0.81       0.87       0.80
Reactor        0.93       0.85       0.91       0.87


Typical Maximum Hot
Restrike Times

Ballast Type   Hot Restrike Time, Minutes
               QMH400/U   CDM330/U   QMH250/U   CDM205/U

Probe start       12         12         8         10
Pulse start        5          7         4          8


Catalog Values for 250 and
400 Watt Quartz Probe (SS)
and Pulse Start (PS) Lamps,
Compared to the Energy
Saving CDM Lamps

Lamp *         Type    Lumens   Mean Lumens   lm/W    CCT, K   CRI

CDM205/U       SS&PS   20,500   16,400        100     4100     85
MH250/U        SS      20,500   13,500         82     4000     65
MP250/BU       SS      22,000   16,500         88     3800     62
MS250/BU       PS      23,750   16,625         95     4300     65
MS250/HOR      PS      20,000   14,000         80     4000     65
MP250/BU       PS      23,000   16,100         92     3800     62
CDM330/U       SS&PS   33,000   26,400        100     4000     92
MH400/U        SS      36,000   24,000         93     4000     65
MP400/BU       SS      38,000   26,600         95     4000     65
MS400/U        SS      40,000   26,500        100     4000     65
MS360/BU       SS      36,000   24,500        100     4300     60
MP400/BU/PS    PS      40,000   28,000        100     3800     65
MS400/HOR/PS   PS      35,800   25,760         92     4300     62
MS400/BU/PS    PS      42,600   29,820        106.5   4100     62

Lamp *         R9      Life, hours

CDM205/U       40      20,000
MH250/U        -130    10,000
MP250/BU       -90     10,000
MS250/BU       -100    15,000
MS250/HOR      -140    12,000
MP250/BU       -90     14,000
CDM330/U       70      20,000
MH400/U        -150    20,000
MP400/BU       -115    20,000
MS400/U        -130    20,000
MS360/BU       - 100   20,000
MP400/BU/PS    - 100   20,000
MS400/HOR/PS   - 125   15,000
MS400/BU/PS    - 125   20,000

The MS360 is designed for 10% energy savings on M59 ballast.

* MH = standard quartz metal halide, MS = high output quartz MH, MP =
protected MH.


Applications for the Energy
Saving 205 and 330 Watt
Ceramic Lamps

Applications        Area              Estimated
                                      Payback Using
                                      8760 and Under
                                      Operating Hours
                                      Per Year at

Outdoor             Floodlights,      1.5-2.0 yr
                    city centers,
                    parking and
                    areas and
                    parking lots,
                    petrol stations

High bay industry   Manufacturing     0.7-1.5 yr

Retail              Show rooms        0.7-1.5 yr
                    (e.g. for
                    bathroom shops,
                    shopping malls,

Public spaces       Entrance halls,   0.7-2.0 yr
                    train platforms
                    and railway
                    museums, art
                    sports centers
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Author:Steere, Tom; Gibson, Ray; Tu, Junming
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2010
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