In spectroscopy, spectral flux density is the quantity that describes the rate at which energy is transferred by electromagnetic radiation through a real or virtual surface, per unit surface area and per unit wavelength. It is a radiometric measure, as distinct from measures that characterize light in terms of the electromagnetic field or photons. In SI units it is measured in W m−3, though it is more practical to measure it in W m−2 nm−1 (1 W m−2 nm−1 = 1 GW m−3 = 1 W mm−3) or W m−2 μm−1 (1 W m−2 μm−1 = 1 MW m−3). The terms irradiance, radiant exitance, radiant emittance, and radiosity are closely related to spectral flux density.
The terms used to describe spectral flux density vary between fields, sometimes including adjectives such as "electromagnetic" or "radiative", and sometimes dropping the word "density". Applications include:
- Characterizing remote telescopically unresolved sources such as stars, observed from a specified observation point such as an observatory on earth.
- Characterizing a natural electromagnetic radiative field at a point, measured there with an instrument that collects radiation from a whole sphere or hemisphere of remote sources.
- Characterizing an artificial collimated electromagnetic radiative beam.
Read more about Spectral Flux Density: Flux Density Received From An Unresolvable "point Source", Flux Density of The Radiative Field At A Measuring Point, Collimated Beam, Relative Spectral Flux Density
... spectra with vertical axes that show the relative spectral flux density ... In this case, the spectral flux density at a given wavelength is expressed as a fraction of some arbitrarily chosen reference value ... Relative spectral flux densities are expressed as pure numbers without any units ...
... The vector approach defines flux density as a vector at a point of space and time prescribed by the investigator ... one might speak of the 'full spherical flux density' ... is the magnitude, direction, and sense of the flux density at the prescribed point ...
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