A high frequency inductively coupled electrodeless lamp includes an excitation coil with an effective electrical length which is less than one half wavelength of a driving frequency applied thereto, preferably much less. The driving frequency may be greater than 100 MHz and is preferably as high as 915 MHz. Preferably, the excitation coil is configured as a non-helical, semi-cylindrical conductive surface having less than one turn, in the general shape of a wedding ring. At high frequencies, the current in the coil forms two loops which are spaced apart and parallel to each other. Configured appropriately, the coil approximates a Helmholtz configuration. The lamp preferably utilizes an bulb encased in a reflective ceramic cup with a pre-formed aperture defined therethrough. The ceramic cup may include structural features to aid in alignment and/or a flanged face to aid in thermal management. The lamp head is preferably an integrated lamp head comprising a metal matrix composite surrounding an insulating ceramic with the excitation integrally formed on the ceramic. A novel solid-state oscillator preferably provides RF power to the lamp. The oscillator is a single active element device capable of providing over 70 watts of power at over 70% efficiency. Various control circuits may be employed to match the driving frequency of the oscillator to a plurality of tuning states of the lamp.
Certain inventions described herein were made with Government support under Contract Nos. DE-FG01-95EE23796 and/or DE-FC01-97EE23776 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in those inventions.