Radiometry

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Radiometry is a set of techniques for measuring electromagnetic radiation, including visible light. Radiometric techniques in optics characterize the distribution of the radiation's power in space, as opposed to photometric techniques, which characterize the light's interaction with the human eye. Radiometry is distinct from quantum techniques such as photon counting.

Radiometry is important in astronomy, especially radio astronomy, and plays a significant role in Earth remote sensing. The measurement techniques categorized as radiometry in optics are called photometry in some astronomical applications, contrary to the optics usage of the term.

Spectroradiometry is the measurement of absolute radiometric quantities in narrow bands of wavelength.[1]

Radiometric quantities[edit]

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).

Integral and spectral radiometric quantities[edit]

Integral quantities (like radiant flux) describe the total effect of radiation of all wavelengths or frequencies, while spectral quantities (like spectral power) describe the effect of radiation of a single wavelength λ or frequency ν. To each integral quantity there are corresponding spectral quantities, for example the radiant flux Φe corresponds to the spectral power Φe,λ and Φe,ν.

Getting an integral quantity's spectral counterpart requires a limit transition. This comes from the idea that the precisely requested wavelength photon existence probability is zero. Let us show the relation between them using the radiant flux as an example:

Integral flux, whose unit is W:

\Phi_\mathrm{e}.

Spectral flux by wavelength, whose unit is W/m:

\Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda} = {\mathrm{d}\Phi_\mathrm{e} \over \mathrm{d}\lambda},

where \mathrm{d}\Phi_\mathrm{e} is the radiant flux of the radiation in a small wavelength interval [λ, λ + dλ]. The area under a plot with wavelength horizontal axis equals to the total radiant flux.

Spectral flux by frequency, whose unit is W/Hz:

\Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu} = {\mathrm{d}\Phi_\mathrm{e} \over \mathrm{d}\nu},

where \mathrm{d}\Phi_\mathrm{e} is the radiant flux of the radiation in a small frequency interval [ν, ν + dν]. The area under a plot with frequency horizontal axis equals to the total radiant flux.

Spectral flux multiplied by wavelength or frequency, whose unit is W, i.e. the same as the integral quantity:

\lambda \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda} = \nu \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu}.

The area under a plot with logarithmic wavelength or frequency horizontal axis equals to the total radiant flux.

The spectral quantities by wavelength λ and frequency ν are related by equations featuring the speed of light c:

\Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda} = {c \over \lambda^2} \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu},
\Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu} = {c \over \nu^2} \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda},
\lambda = {c \over \nu}.

The integral quantity can be obtained by the spectral quantity's integration:

\Phi_\mathrm{e} = \int_0^\infty \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda}\, \mathrm{d}\lambda = \int_0^\infty \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu}\, \mathrm{d}\nu = \int_0^\infty \lambda \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\lambda}\, \mathrm{d} \ln \lambda = \int_0^\infty \nu \Phi_{\mathrm{e},\nu}\, \mathrm{d} \ln \nu.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leslie D. Stroebel & Richard D. Zakia (1993). Focal Encyclopedia of Photography (3rd ed.). Focal Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-240-51417-3. 

External links[edit]