Lighting Science: How is Light Spectrum Measured?

August 2017

Lighting Science: How is Light Spectrum Measured?

 Lamps and fixtures are typically measured within an integrating sphere which breaks down the total amount of energy (photons), for each wavelength of light.   This sphere collects all the emitted radiation and sends it to a spectrometer. The spectrometer measures the intensity (or power) of electromagnetic radiation across the range from 360nm to 1000nm, with 1nm resolution. The normalized output of this energy is typically called the Spectral Power Distribution and is often published as a graph to show what the characteristic output is for a given light source.

  Full spectrum light sources, e.g. Sunmaster’s FULL NOVA product line, have a very balanced spectrum (very similar amounts of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, etc) similar to that of sunlight. While full spectrum, they may be weighted toward having slightly more blue or more red content.

Micro-mols (µmol) are the total amount of energy produced by a light source. While many light sources tout having high µmol output, the integrated spectrum that creates this total output plays an extremely important role in determining the effectiveness of the light source for the particular plant and even the particular growth cycle of the plant. For more information, visit sunmastergrowlamps.com/science/

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