Colorimetry: The Science of Color Measurement

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The human eye is a specially calibrated optical instrument. Our eyes have a unique response to different wavelengths of light — a response that builds our perception of color and influences our impression of light-emitting elements. Colorimetry, the science of color measurement, describes this response and captures color as meaningful data to guide human-centric design and evaluation of many of today's devices. This science brings together standard principles, formulas, and functions to create a universal color language. Colorimetry also enables machines that provide a means to extract objective and repeatable values from light to perform automated optical metrology and visual quality inspection based on color. Called colorimeters, the machines use scientific optical filters and calibrations that ensure measurement according to colorimetric principles. The machines enable manufacturers to best assess the visual quality of displays, illuminated components, and light sources as they are actually seen and experienced by users.

Hosted by Photonics Media as part of the 2021 Photonics Spectra Conference, Jessy Hosken presents the basic principles of colorimetry. Topics include:

  • Human visual perception of color: spectral power distributions (SPD), cone response, and perception studies
  • How to use standard CIE functions and formula to quantify color as a universal chromaticity value
  • How scientific instruments apply these principles for automated color measurement and visual inspection