Under the contract, Philips SSLS will develop light sources capable of producing a broad range of spectral power distributions within the visible spectrum. The source will be used for testing, evaluating, and/or establishing colorimetric and photometric metrics.
A spectrally-tunable light source of this kind will be capable of simulating various types of existing lamps and conceivable white LED light sources, allowing for an accurate measure of how a light source would render colors.
According to NIST, the agency will use the light source for research into an improved metric for color rendering properties for all light sources, including LEDs. Color Rendering Index (CRI), the current metric, has many known limitations.
The purpose of researching and developing a new metric is to allow manufacturers to adopt an accurate and consistent ratings system that helps lighting professionals better evaluate and compare lamps and luminaires.
"We recognize that today's existing measurements are limited, particularly when examining LED sources, which are fundamentally different than conventional light sources and therefore must be tested differently," said Kevin Dowling, VP of Innovation, Philips SSLS.
"We believe that standards are critical to the growth of the LED illumination industry, as they will eliminate any confusion or misinformation and encourage designers to specify LED systems with confidence. We're very eager to help tackle the challenge of creating a new color quality rating as part of our on-going work in standards creation."