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Electron Microscopy Sciences

Technical Data Sheets

Neon Bulb Array

EMS Catalog #97036-01

The Neon Bulb Array is a tool which helps you to locate power peaks in your microwave oven. It shows you where to place your samples in the microwave, therefore, improving the reproducibility of your results.


  1. Make two photocopies of Figure 1. Be sure the number and position of circles on your drawing match your Neon Bulb Array. You will chart illuminating patterns on these maps.
  2. Place the Neon Bulb Array on the floor of the microwave oven. Place the corner with the dot against the oven's left, rear corner.
  3. Close the oven door. Program the oven to irradiate at 100% power for 30 seconds. Press start.
  4. Observe the illumination pattern of the bulbs in the left, rear quadrant of the Neon Bulb Array. On the drawing mark an "X" on each bulb that is continuously lit.
  5. Let the bulbs cool for two minutes. Do not remove the Neon Bulb Array.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 three more times, one for each of the remaining quadrants.
  7. Place a beaker with 200 ml of room-temperature water in the right, rear corner of the oven. If necessary, remove enough bulbs from the Neon Bulb Array to make room for the beaker of water to sit on the mat.
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 5 one time for each of the four quadrants of the array. Compare the illumination patterns of each map. Place the maps in your notebook.

Expected Observations

When the microwave oven contains only the Neon Bulb Array, most of the neon bulbs will remain continuously lit. With the beaker of water in the oven, the pattern of bulb illumination will change dramatically. Few bulbs will be lit; those that light up may flicker.


  • Do not irradiate the neon bulbs for more than 1 minute. They will become too hot to handle.
  • Do not place the beaker of water on top of the bulbs. The bulbs may break and the water may spill. Instead, remove some bulbs to make room for the water load.


Login and Dvorak. (1994) "The Microwave Tool Book, a practical guide for Microscopists". Published and distributed by: Beth Israel Hospital, Department of Pathology, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA. 0215-5491.

Online Ordering

Neon Bulb Array is available online from the EMS Catalog. For ordering or product information, click here.