Radiant flux

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In radiometry, radiant flux or radiant power, and spectral flux or spectral power of a system at a given time are the power received, emitted, reflected or transmitted by that system at that time in form of electromagnetic radiation. The SI unit of radiant flux is the watt (W), that is to say the joule per second (J/s) in SI base units, while that of spectral flux is the watt per hertz (W/Hz) or the watt per metre (W/m)—commonly the watt per nanometre (W/nm)—, depending on whether the spectrum is taken as a function of frequency or of wavelength. The power may be emitted from a source, or landing on a particular surface.

Definitions[edit]

Radiant flux[edit]

Radiant flux of a system at a given time, denoted Φe ("e" for "energetic", to avoid confusion with photometric quantities) and measured in W, is given by

\Phi_\mathrm{e} = \frac{\partial Q_\mathrm{e}}{\partial t},

where

Spectral flux[edit]

Flux per unit frequency of a system at a given time, denoted Φe,ν and measured in W/Hz, is given by

\Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu} = \frac{\partial \Phi_\mathrm{e}}{\partial \nu},

where ν is the frequency, measured in Hz.

Flux per unit wavelength of a system at a given time, denoted Φe,λ and measured in W/m (commonly in W/nm), is given by

\Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda} = \frac{\partial \Phi_\mathrm{e}}{\partial \lambda},

where λ is the wavelength, measured in m (commonly in nm).

SI radiometry units
Quantity Unit Dimension Notes
Name Symbol[nb 1] Name Symbol Symbol
Radiant energy Qe[nb 2] joule J ML2T−2 Energy received, emitted, reflected, or transmitted by a system in form of electromagnetic radiation.
Radiant energy density we joule per cubic metre J/m3 ML−1T−2 Radiant energy of a system per unit volume at a given location.
Radiant flux / Radiant power Φe[nb 2] watt W or J/s ML2T−3 Radiant energy of a system per unit time at a given time.
Spectral flux / Spectral power Φe,ν[nb 3]
or
Φe,λ[nb 4]
watt per hertz
or
watt per metre
W/Hz
or
W/m
ML2T−2
or
MLT−3
Radiant power of a system per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅nm−1.
Radiant intensity Ie,Ω[nb 5] watt per steradian W/sr ML2T−3 Radiant power of a system per unit solid angle around a given direction. It is a directional quantity.
Spectral intensity Ie,Ω,ν[nb 3]
or
Ie,Ω,λ[nb 4]
watt per steradian per hertz
or
watt per steradian per metre
W⋅sr−1⋅Hz−1
or
W⋅sr−1⋅m−1
ML2T−2
or
MLT−3
Radiant intensity of a system per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅nm−1. It is a directional quantity.
Radiance Le,Ω[nb 5] watt per steradian per square metre W⋅sr−1⋅m−2 MT−3 Radiant power of a surface per unit solid angle around a given direction per unit projected area of that surface along that direction. It is a directional quantity. It is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral radiance Le,Ω,ν[nb 3]
or
Le,Ω,λ[nb 4]
watt per steradian per square metre per hertz
or
watt per steradian per square metre, per metre
W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W⋅sr−1⋅m−3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Radiance of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅nm−1. It is a directional quantity. It is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Irradiance Ee[nb 2] watt per square metre W/m2 MT−3 Radiant power received by a surface per unit area. It is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral irradiance Ee,ν[nb 3]
or
Ee,λ[nb 4]
watt per square metre per hertz
or
watt per square metre, per metre
W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W/m3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Irradiance of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The former is commonly measured in 10−22 W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1, known as solar flux unit, and the latter in W⋅m−2⋅nm−1.[nb 6] It is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Radiosity Je[nb 2] watt per square metre W/m2 MT−3 Radiant power leaving (emitted, reflected and transmitted by) a surface per unit area. It is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral radiosity Je,ν[nb 3]
or
Je,λ[nb 4]
watt per square metre per hertz
or
watt per square metre, per metre
W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W/m3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Radiosity of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅nm−1. It is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Radiant exitance Me[nb 2] watt per square metre W/m2 MT−3 Radiant power emitted by a surface per unit area. This is the emitted component of radiosity. "Radiant emittance" is an old term for this quantity. It is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral exitance Me,ν[nb 3]
or
Me,λ[nb 4]
watt per square metre per hertz
or
watt per square metre, per metre
W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W/m3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Radiant exitance of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅nm−1. "Spectral emittance" is an old term for this quantity. It is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Radiant exposure He joule per square metre J/m2 MT−2 Irradiance of a surface times exposure time. It is sometimes also called fluence.
See also: SI · Radiometry · Photometry
  1. ^ Standards organizations recommend that radiometric quantities should be denoted with a suffix "e" (for "energetic") to avoid confusion with photometric or photon quantities.
  2. ^ a b c d e Alternative symbols sometimes seen: W or E for radiant energy, P or F for radiant flux, I for irradiance, W for radiant exitance.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Spectral quantities given per unit frequency are denoted with suffix "ν" (Greek)—not to be confused with the suffix "v" (for "visual") indicating a photometric quantity.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Spectral quantities given per unit wavelength are denoted with suffix "λ" (Greek) to indicate a spectral concentration. Spectral functions of wavelength are indicated by "(λ)" in parentheses instead, for example in spectral transmittance, spectral reflectance and spectral responsivity.
  5. ^ a b The two directional quantities, radiant intensity and radiance, are denoted with suffix "Ω" (Greek) to indicate a directional concentration.
  6. ^ NOAA / Space Weather Prediction Center includes a definition of the solar flux unit (SFU).

See also[edit]

References[edit]