Physics Question #2769

Nick, a 29 year old male from Melbourne asks on May 18, 2005,

I'm wondering if I have a tube filled with argon gas, or some other inert gas, and heat up a filament inside with a laser, would this excite the gas atoms around the filament enough to produce a glow. I don't want to use a current to heat up the element. Do I need an electrical current flowing through the gas, or do i just need some heat? I'm not fussed if it only glows for a second or less.

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