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Recent improvements in both lamp and ballast technologies have resulted in substantial performance gains for fluorescent lighting systems. High-frequency electronic ballasts as well as high-efficiency 60-Hz electromagnetic ballasts have been designed to provide both better starting and operating conditions for the lamps under their control. At the same time, smaller diameter lamps and more efficient lamp phosphors have been developed to improve system performance further. How these improvements can be utilized in practical lighting systems is reviewed. Comparison characteristics, luminaire performance information, and application data are discussed.