Recently I stumbled upon this cheap high voltage converter on Amazon which claims a boost from 3-6V to 400kV. Although really skeptical about the 400kV claim, a lot of comments indicated that it did boost atleast to 10kV so I got one of these to test it out.
And boom! There we go, that’s how you light up a CFL light bulb using a 3V battery!
If you do have access to a plasma globe or a tesla coil, things become a little bit more simpler:
The way CFL light bulbs works is by exciting the electrons in the
lamp and when they return to the ground state they radiate ultraviolet
light. This emitted light is converted to visible light when it strikes
the fluorescent coating on the glass.
So it really does not matter how you decide to excite the electrons to the higher energy state. It might be a high voltage converter, a tesla coil, a plasma globe, etc but all you need is a device that will kick those electrons inside the bulb from their ground state to the higher excite state. That’s all you need!