Incoherent Optical Radiation

Incoherent optical sources (lamps, LEDs) are capable of producing light of sufficiently high radiance that users question whether they pose ocular or skin hazards. Some hazardous sources are obvious, like Xe arc lamps used in solar simulators, while others may not be obvious, like bright light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

LEDs are being used more often in photochemical experiments since they are increasingly brighter and monochromatic: decreasing the cost and complexity of these experiments. Some LEDs can have similar characteristics to laser diodes [1], but their output characteristics are different. These output characteristics require its own hazard analysis, often involving several hazards over a larger spectrum.

Xenon (Xe) arc lamps are solar simulators with a broad spectrum, also spanning many ocular and skin hazard regions. Its irradiance is expressed in Suns (1 Sun = 1 kW/cm2) with some of the brightest sources on campus reaching 1000 Suns.

An IOR Safety Program needs to be aware of photobiological effects and exposure limits for these sources. These topics are provided in the links that follow, including an example evaluation.

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