Stilb (unit)

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The stilb (sb) is the CGS unit of luminance for objects that are not self-luminous. It is equal to one candela per square centimeter or 104 nits (candelas per square meter). The name was coined by the French physicist André Blondel around 1920.[1] It comes from the Greek word stilbein meaning "to glitter".

It was in common use in Europe up to World War I. In North America self-explanatory terms such as candle per square inch and candle per square meter were more common.[2] The unit has since largely been replaced by the SI unit: candela per square meter. The current national standard for SI in the United States discourages the use of the stilb.[3]

Unit conversion[edit]

\mathrm{1\, \frac{cd}{m^2} = 10^{-4}\, sb}

\mathrm{1\, sb = 1\,\frac{cd}{cm^2} = 10^4\,\frac{cd}{m^2}}

\mathrm{1 \, sb = 10^4 \, nit = 10^7 \, millinit}

\mathrm{1 \, sb = 1 \pi \, L = 10^3 \pi \, mL = 10^4 \, \pi \, asb = 10^4 \pi \, blondel = 10^7 \pi \, sk = 10^{11} \pi \, bril}

\mathrm{1 \, sb = 10^4\,\frac{cd}{m^2} \approx 0.3048^2 \cdot 10^4 \cdot \pi \,\, fL = 2918.6...\, fL}

See also[edit]

Other units of luminance:

SI photometry units
Quantity Unit Dimension Notes
Name Symbol[nb 1] Name Symbol Symbol
Luminous energy Qv [nb 2] lumen second lm⋅s TJ [nb 3] units are sometimes called talbots
Luminous flux Φv [nb 2] lumen (= cd⋅sr) lm J [nb 3] also called luminous power
Luminous intensity Iv candela (= lm/sr) cd J [nb 3] an SI base unit, luminous flux per unit solid angle
Luminance Lv candela per square metre cd/m2 L−2J units are sometimes called nits
Illuminance Ev lux (= lm/m2) lx L−2J used for light incident on a surface
Luminous emittance Mv lux (= lm/m2) lx L−2J used for light emitted from a surface
Luminous exposure Hv lux second lx⋅s L−2TJ
Luminous energy density ωv lumen second per metre3 lm⋅sm−3 L−3TJ
Luminous efficacy η [nb 2] lumen per watt lm/W M−1L−2T3J ratio of luminous flux to radiant flux
Luminous efficiency V 1 also called luminous coefficient
See also: SI · Photometry · Radiometry
  1. ^ Standards organizations recommend that photometric quantities be denoted with a suffix "v" (for "visual") to avoid confusion with radiometric or photon quantities. For example: USA Standard Letter Symbols for Illuminating Engineering USAS Z7.1-1967, Y10.18-1967
  2. ^ a b c Alternative symbols sometimes seen: W for luminous energy, P or F for luminous flux, and ρ or K for luminous efficacy.
  3. ^ a b c "J" here is the symbol for the dimension of luminous intensity, not the symbol for the unit joules.

Notes and references[edit]

  • Stilb at A Dictionary of Units of Measurement, Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Accessed June 2008.
  • Stilb at Accessed June 2008.
  1. ^ Parry Moon. "System of photometer concepts", in the Journal of the Optical Society of America, volume 32, number 6 (June 1942). – Page 355: "The lumen was proposed by Blondel in 1894 and is now universally accepted. The names, phot and stilb were likewise coined by Blondel (1921) and are in general use on the Continent."
  2. ^ American Standard Definitions of Electrical Terms, New York: American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1941.
  3. ^ IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2002. American National Standard for Use of the International System of Units (SI): The Modern Metric System. New York: IEEE, 30 December 2002. See Section 3.3.3.