The design of illumination systems is as much art as it is science. Illumination engineering, or design, is a challenging, and very rewarding field that transforms the output of a simple bulb (or LED) into a pattern of illumination that allows us to work, drive or play safely. As engineering evolves into design, the designer combines fundamental physics with architectural aesthetics and human physiology to develop lighting solutions to satisfy all of our ever changing needs. A combination of environmental considerations, energy savings goals and technology advances are helping to bring about significant changes in the field of illumination design. Illumination systems cover a broad range of applications, with an equally broad range of design specifications and requirements. It may be a small task lamp that needs to provide a reasonably uniform patch of light to a desktop work area or it could be the headlamp of an automobile which needs to adequately illuminate the path ahead for the driver without blinding a driver approaching from the opposite direction. Good lighting can be described with a simple set of basic requirements, such as the amount of light needed, the uniformity, and color appearance or it may be defined by regulations such as FVMSS or ECE lighting codes.
Illumination design is a combination of art and science, encompassing engineering, design, the laws of physics as well as human physiology and psychology. Good lighting not only needs to perform the lighting task adequately, but it also must fit completely into the design environment and be “aesthetically pleasing”, whether in use or not. (This is commonly referred to as lit and unlit appearance.) A light fixture, or luminaire, consists of the light source, power supply, optical system and housing. Historically, incandescent bulbs were the typical light source. Today, many new designs use LEDs or other more energy efficient sources. One of the most important factors in designing an illumination system is an accurate model of the light source. These models, such as those found in the APEX source library, should include both the physical properties of the device and the radiometric output. The optical system includes components such as lenses and mirrors, as well as light pipes, diffusers and baffles. The optical system takes the energy output from the source and reshapes it to create the desired light distribution at a target location.
We have decades of experience delivering innovative, cost-effective illumination engineering services. We can help you quickly realize your design goals for a broad range of systems, including LED optics, street lights, automotive lighting, aircraft lighting, and backlights for LCDs, and illuminators for scientific and industrial instruments, solar collectors, projection displays or unique illumination products. Our engineers are expert users take full advantage of the tools’ advanced design and optimization capabilities to meet your design requirements.
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