Photometric Testing

Photometric testing is a crucial process in industries that deal with lighting and optics. It pertains to the measurement of light as perceived by the human eye. The rationale behind this is that human eyes do not respond uniformly to...

by | Jan 17, 2023


Photometric testing of lights, lamps, LEDs, displays, etc.

Photometric testing is a crucial process in industries that deal with lighting and optics. It pertains to the measurement of light as perceived by the human eye. The rationale behind this is that human eyes do not respond uniformly to all wavelengths of light. Photometry takes this into account by weighting the measurement of light according to the photopic response of the human eye, giving us a measure that correlates well with the brightness or visual perception of light.

Understanding Photometry

To grasp the concept of photometric testing, it’s essential to understand the difference between photometry and radiometry. Radiometry measures the absolute power of light in all wavelengths, whereas photometry measures light with wavelengths weighted according to the sensitivity of the human eye, primarily considering the visible spectrum (approximately 380 to 780 nanometers).

Importance of Photometric Testing

Photometric testing is integral to various applications such as the design of lighting fixtures, quality control in manufacturing processes, ensuring compliance with regulations for workplace illumination, and the development of displays and signage. In the automotive industry, for instance, photometric tests ensure that headlights and signal lights meet safety standards. In commercial settings, such as office buildings and retail spaces, photometric data ensures that lighting is both efficient and conducive to the activities within the space.

Key Photometric Measurements

Several key measurements are taken during photometric testing:

  • Luminous Flux (Lumens): This measures the total perceived power of light emitted by a source, considering the human eye’s sensitivity.
  • Illuminance (Lux): This is the measurement of the luminous flux per unit area incident on a surface, indicating how much light falls on a given surface.
  • Luminance (Candela per square meter): This measures the brightness of a surface as seen by the observer, which is essential for display screen quality and lighting comfort in indoor spaces.

The Testing Process

Photometric testing involves the use of specialized instruments such as spectroradiometers, which can measure the spectral power distribution of a light source, and integrating spheres, which can measure the total luminous flux of a light source. The data collected can then be used to calculate various photometric quantities such as luminous intensity, luminous efficacy (ratio of luminous flux to power), and color rendering index (CRI), which describes how accurately colors appear under a light source compared to natural light.

Standards and Regulations

There are several standards and regulations governing photometric testing, ensuring that products meet specific requirements for performance and safety. For example, the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) provides guidelines on the measurements of light and illumination. Additionally, national and international standards such as ISO, ANSI, and IEC set out specific criteria for various lighting products.

Photometric testing stands as a pivotal process in ensuring that the design and production of lighting systems meet specific, human-centric criteria. It supports manufacturers in creating products that are not only efficient in terms of energy consumption but also effective and safe from the perspective of human use. As technology advances, the precision and applications of photometric testing continue to expand, playing an essential role in the development of innovative lighting solutions that enhance our environments and daily lives.

Contract Laboratory often receives photometric test requests, like the following:

  • Electrical Laboratory needed for IES Testing of LED Light fittings to Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), LM79 Approved Method for the Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products
  • USA Pharmaceutical Laboratory needed for photometric testing: Kinetics – Monitor UV absorbance of sunscreen formulation as a function of light exposure time in a set of 5 solutions.
  • UKAS Europe transportation or civil engineering laboratory needed for BAM Lighting and safety elements for roads Photometric characteristics of road studs – Warning lights at working sites – photometric testing of traffic lights
  • FDA/AOAC Analytical Chemistry Food Laboratory needed for Spectro-photometric UV testing on food samples.
  • Eastern USA SAE Laboratory is required for Photometric and FMVSS SAE.P2 and PC testing according to DOT requirements, 2 samples each.
  • and more.

Save your time and money by visiting to submit a photometric test request online, or call us at 1-855-377-6821.

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