Test Equipment for Light Intensity

Written by natasha parks
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Test Equipment for Light Intensity
Modern light intensity test meters are portable, digital and accurate. (Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Detecting light intensity is important in a range of different applications including work in a dentist's surgery, factory workshops, hotel rooms, offices and in science during low light experiments. Light intensity meters are essential pieces of equipment used to measure light and brightness.

Light Intensity Meters

A lightweight, portable device that can be used indoors and in external environments is most flexible. Meters are usually hand-held and can be operated with one hand, making their use straightforward and simple. Displays are often digital and work with LCD technology; the range of light intensity detected can be between zero and 90,000 Lux, according to Test Equipment Depot. All meters need to comply with safety standards set out by the government.

Solar Power

Some light intensity metering equipment can measure ultraviolet radiation. These devices have a similar appearance to the standard light intensity meters, but they can measure damaging UV light, a subsection of ordinary light, in man made environments such as power stations, museums, laboratories or even housing developments. Solar engineers can use the meters to find out if solar panelling will be efficient in a particular location or if too much UV light is entering a building and potentially could cause damage to important artefacts. The measurement is usually taken in microwatts.


Light emitting diodes are being used more frequently in a range of important applications including street signs, car technologies and aircraft interiors. This means the light they produce needs to be measured and checked regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly. Photodetectors are used to perform this measurement. According to Keithley, the amount of reverse leakage current present through a photodetector is proportional to the amount of light shining on it. This means that when an LED shines on the photodetector and a leakage current is measured, the corresponding light intensity can be extrapolated.


For light intensity applications you always need a light intensity meter or measuring device, but you may also need additional equipment to help you complete the process.

Consider adding extra equipment: a UV probe if you need to detect UV light; a magnetic mount if you need flexibility and the option of leaving the meter working in place; batteries to keep the meter running smoothly; and a carrying case to protect the screen and controls from damage in workplace environments.

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