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Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry (SC178)

Course Level: Introductory
Instructor: Barbara G. Grant, Lines and Lights Technology (United States)

Course Details

In this half-day course the basic quantities of radiometry, their units, and their relationships to electro-magnetic field quantities are presented. Photometry, its units, and conversion factors to older units are also addressed. The course covers the fundamentals of blackbody radiation generation and transfer. The basic equations needed to set up and solve problems are discussed.
The course introduces radiometric and photometric sources, detectors of optical radiation, instrumentation, and calibration. The supplementary textbook, Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry by Ross McCluney, is provided with the course and offers more detail in detector optical/ electrical characterization, color theory, and optical properties of specific materials.
This course is an ideal lead-in to SC944 The Radiometry Case Files, which provides many applied examples of the concepts introduced here.

Learning Outcomes

This course will enable you to:

  • learn the methodology used for quantifying and describing electromagnetic radiation from the extreme UV through the visible portions of the spectrum and into the far IR
  • become conversant with the concepts, terminology, and units of both radiometry and photometry
  • master key radiometric laws and approximations
  • master the basics of photometry, the system of terminology and units used whenever the eye is the detector
  • describe the characterization of optical properties of surfaces, materials, and objects
  • gain insight into the design and calibration of radiometers and photometers
Intended Audience

This course is for engineers and scientists who deal with electromagnetic radiation who need to quantify this radiation using international standard units and terminology. The course is for teachers, students, and researchers interested in using proper methods, terminology, symbols, and units in their courses and their research work. It is also for practitioners solving problems in radiation transfer, and in measuring radiant and luminous flux in optical systems and in nature.


Barbara G. Grant is the co-author, with Jim Palmer, of The Art of Radiometry. For more than twenty years she has applied her engineering skills to solve problems in industries as diverse as aerospace and indoor tanning. A consultant in electro-optics, she received the M.S. degree in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona and two NASA awards for her work on the GOES weather satellite imager and sounder. Her previous work for SPIE includes developing and chairing a special session on FLIR image analysis.


COURSE PRICE INCLUDES the text Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry (Artech House, 1994) by Ross McCluney.

Continuing Education Units

IACET Authorzed Provider
As an IACET Accredited Provider, SPIE offers CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education Standard.