Abstract

Detectors have historically been calibrated for spectral power responsivity at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by using a lamp–monochromator system to tune the wavelength of the excitation source. Silicon detectors can be calibrated in the visible spectral region with combined standard uncertainties at the 0.1% level. However, uncertainties increase dramatically when measuring an instrument's spectral irradiance or radiance responsivity. We describe what we believe to be a new laser-based facility for spectral irradiance and radiance responsivity calibrations using uniform sources (SIRCUS) that was developed to calibrate instruments directly in irradiance or radiance mode with uncertainties approaching or exceeding those available for spectral power responsivity calibrations. In SIRCUS, the emission from high-power, tunable lasers is introduced into an integrating sphere using optical fibers, producing uniform, quasi-Lambertian, high-radiant-flux sources. Reference standard irradiance detectors, calibrated directly against national primary standards for spectral power responsivity and aperture area measurement, are used to determine the irradiance at a reference plane. Knowing the measurement geometry, the source radiance can be readily determined as well. The radiometric properties of the SIRCUS source coupled with state-of-the-art transfer standard radiometers whose responsivities are directly traceable to primary national radiometric scales result in typical combined standard uncertainties in irradiance and radiance responsivity calibrations of less than 0.1%. The details of the facility and its effect on primary national radiometric scales are discussed.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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