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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 46, Iss. 12 — Dec. 1, 1956
  • pp: 1052–1059

Chromatic Significance of Spectrophotometric Errors

THORNE SHIPLEY and GORDON L. WALKER  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 46, Issue 12, pp. 1052-1059 (1956)

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Analytic expressions are developed for describing the relationship between the maximum instrument error in the spectrophotometric measurement of colored samples and the corresponding maximum displacement of the CIE chromaticity coordinates. Accepting some empirical evidence concerning the sensitivity of the eye to small color differences, as recorded on the CIE color triangle, it becomes possible to estimate the chromatic significance of this error. To illustrate this procedure, we examined two cases: constant errors and errors independent of wavelength. The effect of these errors on the chromaticity specifications of some representative blue filters was discussed. The relation of error to luminosity is also noted.

THORNE SHIPLEY and GORDON L. WALKER, "Chromatic Significance of Spectrophotometric Errors," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 46, 1052-1059 (1956)

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  1. I. Nimeroff, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 531–533 (1953); also D. L. MacAdam, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 533–538 (1953).
  2. The following contains a full discussion of these various issues: R. von Mises, Vorlesungen aus dem Gebiete der angewandten Mathematik, Bd. I, Abschnitt III, No. 12.
  3. If several samples are used, then the mean standard deviation can be taken to characterize the given instrument over all samples. The standard deviation for repeated runs on one sample would have a very limited meaning.
  4. A. R. MacDonald and G. P. Bentley, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 45, 366–372 (1955).
  5. It is not important that this region be exactly specified (in fact the small size of the MacAdam ellipses in this area is not yet a universally acknowledged fact), but only the immediate neighborhood of a point.
  6. For example: D. B. Judd, Natl. Bur. Standards Circ. 478, 1–56 (1950), especially p. 24; D. J. Nickerson, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 25, 253–257 (1935), especially p. 257. However, this is intended simply as a typical value; in any given case it may be preferable to set a very different tolerance limit. In the blue region, which we are discussing at present, this tolerance is perhaps somewhat too loose.
  7. It is possible for the method of tristimulus computation itself to be sufficiently crude so that ±0.002 changes will not be detected. Nickerson (reference 6), on the basis of disk colorimetry to a criterion of ±0.002, notes (p. 257) "… that a method of computation is required which gives x and y with an uncertainty no greater than 0.001." Moreover, "… summation for intervals of 10 mµ gives x and y with an average uncertainty of 0.0004, … the 30-selected-ordinate method has an average uncertainty of 0.0010, and … the 10-selected-ordinate method has an average uncertainty … of 0.0035." She goes on to note that the advantage of the 10 mµ weighted-ordinate method over the 30-selected-ordinate method may be spurious. It is on the basis of this work, that we choose the 30-selected-ordinate method to demonstrate our procedure.
  8. Reflectance curves would have done as well; the principle is exactly the same in either case.
  9. These were calculated by the 30-selected-ordinate method, from the eighteenth edition of the Wratten filter book, by plotting the values presented in their tables (assuming, for the moment, that these are the true curves), drawing a smooth curve through them, and reading off the 30 values. Our figures differ somewhat from those reported by D. L. MacAdam, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 35, 670–675 (1945), but the differences are quite small. In any case, it was necessary for us to have the raw data in our own form in order to complete the computations involved here.
  10. J. A. van den Akker, Paper Trade J. 125, 466–471 (1947) notes this same fact (p. 470): "A specimen whose curve hugs either the upper or the lower limit of such a zone ["go and no-go" zones, i.e., the tolerance limits of ∊] will have color more similar to that of the standard than will another specimen whose curve passes across the zone from low at one end to high at the other end—even though the curve for the latter seems on the average to he in better agreement with the standard."
  11. A. R. MacDonald and G. P. Bentley4 have shown that a physical instrument whose error is in percent of level rather than of full scale, e.g., ΔI/I resembling the logarithmic response of organisms, may "… be more precise than a spectrophotometer for many commercial measurements in either dark colors, or highly saturated colors, where reflectance on any one tristimulus filter may be low" (p. 366). However, the present analysis is not applicable to the logarithmic case, which is complicated by the fact that ΔTik must be replaced, at every wavelength, by ΔTjk/Tjk. This, of course, would reduce the displacement quite markedly for dark samples.
  12. This means that when the error operates to increase the X value, while it simultaneously decreases both the Y and Z values, the change in x will be at its maximum for a given magnitude of ∊. However, when this is so, the Δy and the Δz values are less than maximum, although definitely not minimum. How much less we cannot say except in a specific instance. And, mutatis mutandis, the same is true when Δx is at its minimum. Our analysis, in other words, entails the case that only one change, in either x, y, or z, may be maximum (or minimum) at any given time, for any given value of ∊. We do not consider those cases where the changes in two or in all three of the coordinates may be simultaneously maximum (or minimum). These issues, however, have little practical interest, for our empirical criterion necessarily involves changes in only one coordinate. Such changes are entirely sufficient for the production of chromaticness changes, and we do not need to be specifically concerned with simultaneous changes in either or both of the other coordinates.
  13. The eye is not even approximately equally sensitive to changes in the z coordinate as it is to changes in the x and y coordinates, hence we do not take ∊ as the least of ∊x, ∊y, ∊z, but rather as the least of ∊x, ∊y. In fact, Δx= Δy is only a very rough approximation in the small; the standard deviations of chromaticity matches about a point are ellipses, not circles. Moreover, it may be, in any given case, that Δz, rather than Δx or Δy, is the most significant index of chromaticness change. Furthermore, it is entirely possible, in Eq. (5), to use δx≠δy≠δz, should all three contribute differently to the change in chromaticness.
  14. Strictly, this is not true for the case where the chromaticity coordinates are very nearly of the same magnitude, for the values of the factors (C1, C2, C3) for CIE Source C then play a limiting role (compare the ∊x and ∊y values for filter CC-1OB in Table IV).
  15. In a series such as our No. 1, where the filters are of the same material but of varying thickness, excitation purity usually varies inversely with luminous transmittance. But the present error is related only to the transmittance and not at all to the purity.
  16. The corresponding expression for Δxmax is: [equation]
  17. Y cannot be 100%, as if no filter were used, for then we would not have the equal-energy point, but merely the proper x, y, z coordinates for Source C itself.

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