Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Facility for Spectral Irradiance and Radiance Responsivity Calibrations Using Uniform Sources (SIRCUS)



Steven W. Brown, George P. Eppeldauer, Keith R. Lykke


Detectors have historically been calibrated for spectral power responsivity at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 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. In this work, a new laser-based facility for Spectral Irradiance and Radiance Responsivity Calibrations using Uniform Sources (SIRCUS) is described 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, high-power, tunable lasers are 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 less than 0.1 %. Details of the facility and its impact on primary national radiometric scales are discussed.
Applied Optics
No. 32


calibration, irradiance, radiance, radiometry, responsivity, uncertainty


Brown, S. , Eppeldauer, G. and Lykke, K. (2006), Facility for Spectral Irradiance and Radiance Responsivity Calibrations Using Uniform Sources (SIRCUS), Applied Optics, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created July 7, 2006, Updated February 17, 2017