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CHAPTER 7 The Photometry of Optical Systems LINTRODUCTION With any optical instrument, a quantitative knowledge of the flow of light from object to image is of the greatest importance. It enables us to determine the illumination falling on the film in a camera, for in- stance, or the brightness of a star seen in a telescope, or an image projected on a screen. We live in a world of light, and we can see surrounding objects only if they have sufficient brightness. ‘We cannot see “light”; if we could, the entire night sky would be bright, as a large amount of light from the sun is streaming past the arth all night. We can see only the source from which the light comes. ‘Thus our response to light is entirely different from our response to sound, We can be in a room full of sound and have no idea where it originates. Our ears can distinguish high notes from low notes, and even different types of sound, whereas our eyes can detect only the resultant mixture of wavelengths which we refer to as the “color” of ‘the object. ‘A, RADIOMETRY AND PHOTOMETRY tis essential to distinguish carefully between the basic concepts of radiometry and photometry. Photometry is concerned only with the integrated effect ofall the wavelengths to which the eye is sensitive, Le., from about 0.4 to about 0.75 zm. The basic unit of photometry is that of brightness, or more strictly Jwninance, because the eye responds ‘only to brightness. On the other hand, radiometry is concerned with ‘the emission and detection of radiant energy, taken wavelength by ‘wavelength through the entire radiation spectrum from the extreme ultraviolet to the extreme infrared, with the detectors being generally responsive to radiant power, which is expressed in watts, In this 2 Il, PHOTOMETRIC DEFINITIONS 93 chapter we shall consider only photometric concepts, assume that the light is “white,” and leave problems of color aside for separate consid- eration. I, PHOTOMETRIC DEFINITIONS There are four basic concepts in photometry that must be clearly differentiated and understood. Two of these relate to the emission of light, one to the flow of light from a source toa receiver, and the last to the effect of light on a receiving surface. ‘A. LUMINANCE ‘The concept of luminance (B), formerly called brightness, is basic to all photometry because the eye responds only to luminance. An object having a high luminance looks bright to our eyes, and conversely, an ‘object having a low luminance looks dim to our eyes. The apparent brightness of an object depends on three factors— the luminance of the object, the size of the pupils of our eyes, and our state of adapta tion. If we have been in a dark room for some time, our eyes become dark adapted, and even dim objects appear bright. On the other hand, after being in bright sunlight for some time our eyes become bright adapted, and upon going indoors everything looks dark, but gradually we find we can see more and more as our eyes lose their bright adaptation. ‘The fundamental unit of luminance is the stilb. which is defined as one-sixtieth of the luminance of a black body at the temperature of freezing platinum, ie., about 170°C. Ifa luminous surface is diffusing G.e., not shiny), then its luminance is independent of both the area of the surface and the angle of view. Indeed, the constancy of luminance with angle provides the criterion for regarding a surface as being diffusing. If a surface is shiny, or partially specular, we cannot draw any useful conclusions about its luminance, because the luminance of sucha surface varies with the direction of view and the presence of ight sources above the surface which are partially reflected by it. The luminance of a surface is a physical property of the surface and does not depend on how it is viewed; indeed, it may not be viewed atall 94 7, THE PHOTOMETRY OF OPTICAL SYSTEMS and yet retain its luminance. Viewed from the end of the highway, al the street lamps in a row appear equally bright to our eyes, although ‘the distant lamps appear small and the nearer lamps large. The luminance of a source is quite independent of the size of the source, provided it is uniform over its area. The concept of luminance is not ‘confined to a plane solid surface; the sun, which consists of a ball of slowing gas, has a very high luminance of about 200,000 stlb. A bright ‘spot on the surface of the full moon has a luminance of about 0.25 stilb, with the reflectance (albedo) of the moon being about 17%, A sheet of white paper under fairly bright indoor lighting has a lumi- nance of about 0.017 stil, and under full noon sunlight outdoors may reach about 3.5 stilb. The filament of a tungsten projection lamp may have an effective luminance of 2500 stilb. It will be seen that the stilb is a fairly bright unit, suitable for ‘measuring light sources. If we are concerned with much dimmer Tuminances such as some illuminated objects, a more convenient unit isthe nit, which is defined as one ten-thousandth ofa stilb, so that 0.25 stitb is 2500 nit. B, Inrensiry ‘The unit of intensity (/) is the candela (formerly candle power). The intensity of a source is a measure of its ability to illuminate other objects. If we limit the area of our black body at the temperature of freezing platinum to | cm?, its intensity will be 60 candelas (cd) in a direction perpendicular to the surface. In any other direction the projected area will be less in proportion to the cosine ofthe angle from the normal and so will the intensity of the source. This is known as Lambert's cosine law of intensity. The intensity of a source also depends directly on its area. Thus, I= BA cos, where A is the area of the source, B its luminance, and 6 the angle of view. If Ais | cm, B 1 stilb, and 0 zero, then the intensity is 1 od. Thus we may regard the stilb as such a luminance that its intensity is 1 cd/em? of projected area. ‘The intensity of an ordinary domestic light bulb varies with direc- tion, The average intensity over a complete sphere is called the mean spherical candle power, and it is this which measures the ability of the