Dispersion Photometer

A photometer in which the rays from one of the lights under comparison are made more divergent by a concave lens. In this way a strong light, such as all arc lamp can be photometered more readily than where only the natural divergence of the beam exists. The law of the variation of the intensity of light with the square of the distance is abrogated for a law of more rapid variation by the use of a concave lens.

The diagram, Fig. 260, illustrates the principle. E represents a powerful light, an arc light, to be tested. Its distance from the screen is e. Its light goes through the concave lens L and is dispersed as shown over an area A1, instead of the much smaller area A, which the same rays would otherwise cover. Calling l the distance of the lens from the screen, f its focus, and c the distance of the standard candle from the screen when the shadows are of equal intensity, we have the proportion.

Illuminating power of lamps: ditto of standard candle::  (l (e-l) + fe)2 : (c f)2


The cut, Fig. 261, gives a perspective view of Ayrton's Dispersion Photometer. C is the standard candle, L the concave lens, R the rod for producing the two shadows on the screen S.


The mirror M is fixed at an angle of 45° with the stem on which it rotates. The light of the arc lamp is received by the mirror and is reflected through the lens. The candle holder slides along a graduated bar C, and at D is an index plate to show the angle at which the spindle carrying the mirror is set.

Dr. J. Hopkinson in his dispersion photometer uses a double convex lens. This gives a focal image of the arc-lamp between the lens and screen, whence the rays diverge very rapidly, thus giving the desired dispersion effect.

It is principally for arc lamps that dispersion photometers are used.