National Physical Laboratory

Lighting industry

For nearly a century, the reputation of NPL as the UK's national standards laboratory and an international centre of excellence in the physical and measurement sciences, has been achieved through the skills of world class scientists working in the most advanced of research and development environments.

More than 30 of these specialists have now formed themselves into a focus group capable of delivering the highest standards of scientific consultancy and instrument design services for optical radiation industries, including lighting. The group's work is valued by government, international agencies and industrial bodies alike.

Light experiments

Within the fields of photometry and spectroradiometry, the group has specialist expertise in measurement, calibration and the design of instrumentation - everything a manufacturer needs to meet the latest demands for the accurate assessment of energy efficient or special purpose lighting. We set out to be a highly skilled, cost-effective arm of a client's Research and Development resource.

Lighting the way forward

Developments in lamp and luminaire design, new lighting applications and the more efficient use of lamps, all depend on the ability to measure and compare new designs and concepts with old.

The group is unquestioned in its ability to measure and characterise all kinds of light source accurately, calibrate instruments, and supply standard lamps and detectors. Whether it be for quality control purposes, new product development or to prove compliance with building recommendations or health and safety legislation, our completely independent measurement, design and consultancy services can help support your business. We can even design, install and commission complete measurement facilities.

Lamps and other sources studied by the group range in power from those that are too dim to see up to those that can damage eyes and skin, and in size from LEDs to 1.5 m fluorescent tubes. Wavelength coverage is equally comprehensive -ranging all the way from ultraviolet to infrared.

Quality control is a key business issue

Quality control in the lighting industry can be the key to successful business, resulting in improved customer confidence, cost savings through reduced wastage and increased production efficiency. And the key to good quality control is accurate and well documented photometric and spectroradiometric measurements. To meet this need, we supply special lamps, designed specifically for use as standards for each type of measurement (flux, intensity, luminance, etc.) and wavelength region. Lamps are calibrated against national standards and supplied with certificates recognised by UKAS and other accreditation bodies worldwide.

The range includes flux lamps of up to 15 000 lumens, illuminance standards providing levels from less than 1 lux to in excess of 20,000 lux and sources for the calibration of light output from luminous surfaces, such as VDUs.

Our equipment is world class

NPL scientists have world class equipment; where necessary we design and build it for ourselves. This capability enables us to offer an unequalled level of service.

For example, customers sometimes prefer to use their own lamps as standards and to meet this need we have developed extensive facilities for calibrating all types of lamp both photometrically and spectroradiometrically. It is very rare that we encounter a lamp we cannot measure.

8m Bench

The laboratory maintains an 8 m photometric bench for luminous intensity, luminance, illuminance and colour measurement. It is used to calibrate photometric detectors as well as standard lamps. And a special bench has been designed for low intensity sources, such as tritium-activated phosphor sources used in emergency lighting. Our goniometer can provide measurement of luminous and spectral radiant flux and intensity distribution of a wide range of luminaires.

A whole range of spectroradiometer facilities has been developed, each optimised for a particular type of measurement, wavelength range or power level. Such diverse sources as solar simulators, used to model how sunlight degrades materials, UV water sterilisers and VDUs can be measured along with the myriad lamps used to light our homes, offices, shops, factories and roads. Spectroradiometric characteristics of sources can be critical. The right lamps can make meat, vegetables, clothes or jewellery look more attractive, while the wrong ones can make them look highly undesirable. No-one is more skilled in measuring the spectral output of light sources than we are.

Our mission is to improve your products and installations

Our scientists have a distinguished record of making measurements for both lighting product manufacturers and specifiers of commercial installations. Our expertise can be used on site, for example to carry out surveys of new lighting installations as they are commissioned. The special ingredient we add is the use of our own high quality and accurately calibrated instruments by skilled and knowledgeable NPL scientists. Our status as an internationally recognised independent measurement and standards laboratory guarantees that our results are accepted worldwide.

In addition, we design, manufacture and calibrate special bench photometers against which other photometers can be calibrated. These may be bought or hired from the team.

Hiring is preferred by both customers and scientists as a means of ensuring the optimum performance needed for consistently accurate measurement, backed up by calibration documentation.

Consultancy and training

NPL offers full consultancy services to cover all aspects of optical radiation measurement and its applications. Whether you need expert advice, training or system design, we can tailor a package to your precise needs. Every project we undertake demands and receives the vision, dedication and authority that have become the hallmarks of NPL.

For further information, please contact Emma Woolliams

Last Updated: 15 Jan 2013
Created: 23 Jul 2007

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