The term, photoelectric colorimetry, is commonly employed to designate both photoelectric tristimulus colorimetry, used to evaluate the appearance of materials, and abridged spectrophotometry, often used to assist in chemical analyses. This paper is devoted to the first type of measurement. For a photoelectric tristimulus colorimeter, it is desired to find three or more source-filter photo-cell combinations of such spectral character that they duplicate the standard I.C.I. observer for colorimetry. With an instrument having these combinations, tristimulus values would be obtained by direct measurement. Although no one has duplicated the I.C.I. observer perfectly, several investigators have obtained source-filter photo-cell combinations suitable for the measurement of color differences between spectrally similar samples. To measure color differences as small as those which the trained inspectors of paint, textile, plastic, paper, and ceramic products can see, an instrument must have high precision. If the needed precision is available, a photoelectric tristimulus colorimeter may be used to measure: (1) I.C.I. colorimetric values, x, y, and Y, relative to those of a spectrally similar, calibrated standard; (2) relative values of α and β, components of the chromaticity departure from neutral in a new uniform-chromaticness-scale mixture diagram for representing surface colors; (3) amounts of color difference between pairs of spectrally similar samples; (4) amounts of color change accompanying fading; and (5) whiteness of white and near-white surfaces. In giving examples of the measurement of some of these different properties and in describing the errors of color measurement to which the tristimulus method is subject, reference is made to operations with the author’s recently developed multipurpose photoelectric reflectometer.
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