Philips awarded NIST contract (corrected version)

Oct. 17, 2007
Philips has received a federal contract to develop a spectrally-tunable light source that will help NIST investigate alternative metrics that might eventually replace CRI.
Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions (formerly Color Kinetics) has been awarded a $250,000 contract by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop and create a spectrally-tunable light source. The new test system will help NIST to research methods for calculating and measuring the quality of a light source. NIST is a federal agency that develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology.

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."