# Transmittance

This page was last edited on 11 June 2017, at 22:18.

Transmittance of the surface of a material is its effectiveness in transmitting radiant energy. It is the fraction of incident electromagnetic power that is transmitted through a sample, in contrast to the transmission coefficient, which is the ratio of the transmitted to incident electric field.[2]

Internal transmittance refers to energy loss by absorption, whereas (total) transmittance is that due to absorption, scattering, reflection, etc.

Earth's atmospheric transmittance over 1 nautical mile sea level path (infrared region[1]). Because of the natural radiation of the hot atmosphere, the intensity of radiation is different from the transmitted part.
Transmittance of ruby in optical and near-IR spectra. Note the two broad blue and green absorption bands and one narrow absorption band on the wavelength of 694 nm, which is the wavelength of the ruby laser.

## Mathematical definitions

### Hemispherical transmittance

Hemispherical transmittance of a surface, denoted T, is defined as[3]

${\displaystyle T={\frac {\Phi _{\mathrm {e} }^{\mathrm {t} }}{\Phi _{\mathrm {e} }^{\mathrm {i} }}},}$

where

• Φet is the radiant flux transmitted by that surface;
• Φei is the radiant flux received by that surface.

### Spectral hemispherical transmittance

Spectral hemispherical transmittance in frequency and spectral hemispherical transmittance in wavelength of a surface, denoted Tν and Tλ respectively, are defined as[3]

${\displaystyle T_{\nu }={\frac {\Phi _{\mathrm {e} ,\nu }^{\mathrm {t} }}{\Phi _{\mathrm {e} ,\nu }^{\mathrm {i} }}},}$
${\displaystyle T_{\lambda }={\frac {\Phi _{\mathrm {e} ,\lambda }^{\mathrm {t} }}{\Phi _{\mathrm {e} ,\lambda }^{\mathrm {i} }}},}$

where

### Directional transmittance

Directional transmittance of a surface, denoted TΩ, is defined as[3]

${\displaystyle T_{\Omega }={\frac {L_{\mathrm {e} ,\Omega }^{\mathrm {t} }}{L_{\mathrm {e} ,\Omega }^{\mathrm {i} }}},}$

where

• Le,Ωt is the radiance transmitted by that surface;
• Le,Ωi is the radiance received by that surface.

### Spectral directional transmittance

Spectral directional transmittance in frequency and spectral directional transmittance in wavelength of a surface, denoted Tν,Ω and Tλ,Ω respectively, are defined as[3]

${\displaystyle T_{\nu ,\Omega }={\frac {L_{\mathrm {e} ,\Omega ,\nu }^{\mathrm {t} }}{L_{\mathrm {e} ,\Omega ,\nu }^{\mathrm {i} }}},}$
${\displaystyle T_{\lambda ,\Omega }={\frac {L_{\mathrm {e} ,\Omega ,\lambda }^{\mathrm {t} }}{L_{\mathrm {e} ,\Omega ,\lambda }^{\mathrm {i} }}},}$

where

## Beer–Lambert law

By definition, transmittance is related to optical depth and to absorbance as

${\displaystyle T=e^{-\tau }=10^{-A},}$

where

• τ is the optical depth;
• A is the absorbance.

The Beer–Lambert law states that, for N attenuating species in the material sample,

${\displaystyle T=e^{-\sum _{i=1}^{N}\sigma _{i}\int _{0}^{\ell }n_{i}(z)\mathrm {d} z}=10^{-\sum _{i=1}^{N}\varepsilon _{i}\int _{0}^{\ell }c_{i}(z)\mathrm {d} z},}$

or equivalently that

${\displaystyle \tau =\sum _{i=1}^{N}\tau _{i}=\sum _{i=1}^{N}\sigma _{i}\int _{0}^{\ell }n_{i}(z)\,\mathrm {d} z,}$
${\displaystyle A=\sum _{i=1}^{N}A_{i}=\sum _{i=1}^{N}\varepsilon _{i}\int _{0}^{\ell }c_{i}(z)\,\mathrm {d} z,}$

where

Attenuation cross section and molar attenuation coefficient are related by

${\displaystyle \varepsilon _{i}={\frac {\mathrm {N_{A}} }{\ln {10}}}\,\sigma _{i},}$

and number density and amount concentration by

${\displaystyle c_{i}={\frac {n_{i}}{\mathrm {N_{A}} }},}$

where NA is the Avogadro constant.

In case of uniform attenuation, these relations become[4]

${\displaystyle T=e^{-\sum _{i=1}^{N}\sigma _{i}n_{i}\ell }=10^{-\sum _{i=1}^{N}\varepsilon _{i}c_{i}\ell },}$

or equivalently

${\displaystyle \tau =\sum _{i=1}^{N}\sigma _{i}n_{i}\ell ,}$
${\displaystyle A=\sum _{i=1}^{N}\varepsilon _{i}c_{i}\ell .}$

Cases of non-uniform attenuation occur in atmospheric science applications and radiation shielding theory for instance.

## SI radiometry units

Quantity Unit Dimension Notes
Name Symbol[nb 1] Name Symbol Symbol
Radiant energy Qe[nb 2] joule J ML2T−2 Energy of electromagnetic radiation.
Radiant energy density we joule per cubic metre J/m3 ML−1T−2 Radiant energy per unit volume.
Radiant flux Φe[nb 2] watt W = J/s ML2T−3 Radiant energy emitted, reflected, transmitted or received, per unit time. This is sometimes also called "radiant power".
Spectral flux Φe,ν[nb 3]
or
Φe,λ[nb 4]
watt per hertz
or
watt per metre
W/Hz
or
W/m
ML2T−2
or
MLT−3
Radiant flux per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅nm−1.
Radiant intensity Ie,Ω[nb 5] watt per steradian W/sr ML2T−3 Radiant flux emitted, reflected, transmitted or received, per unit solid angle. This is a directional quantity.
Spectral intensity Ie,Ω,ν[nb 3]
or
Ie,Ω,λ[nb 4]
watt per steradian per hertz
or
watt per steradian per metre
W⋅sr−1⋅Hz−1
or
W⋅sr−1⋅m−1
ML2T−2
or
MLT−3
Radiant intensity per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅nm−1. This is a directional quantity.
Radiance Le,Ω[nb 5] watt per steradian per square metre W⋅sr−1⋅m−2 MT−3 Radiant flux emitted, reflected, transmitted or received by a surface, per unit solid angle per unit projected area. This is a directional quantity. This is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral radiance Le,Ω,ν[nb 3]
or
Le,Ω,λ[nb 4]
watt per steradian per square metre per hertz
or
watt per steradian per square metre, per metre
W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W⋅sr−1⋅m−3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Radiance of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅sr−1⋅m−2⋅nm−1. This is a directional quantity. This is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Flux density
Ee[nb 2] watt per square metre W/m2 MT−3 Radiant flux received by a surface per unit area. This is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral flux density
Ee,ν[nb 3]
or
Ee,λ[nb 4]
watt per square metre per hertz
or
watt per square metre, per metre
W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W/m3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Irradiance of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. This is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity". Non-SI units of spectral flux density include jansky (1 Jy = 10−26 W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1) and solar flux unit (1 sfu = 10−22 W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1 = 104 Jy).
Radiosity Je[nb 2] watt per square metre W/m2 MT−3 Radiant flux leaving (emitted, reflected and transmitted by) a surface per unit area. This is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral radiosity Je,ν[nb 3]
or
Je,λ[nb 4]
watt per square metre per hertz
or
watt per square metre, per metre
W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W/m3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Radiosity of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅m−2⋅nm−1. This is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Radiant exitance Me[nb 2] watt per square metre W/m2 MT−3 Radiant flux emitted by a surface per unit area. This is the emitted component of radiosity. "Radiant emittance" is an old term for this quantity. This is sometimes also confusingly called "intensity".
Spectral exitance Me,ν[nb 3]
or
Me,λ[nb 4]
watt per square metre per hertz
or
watt per square metre, per metre
W⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
W/m3
MT−2
or
ML−1T−3
Radiant exitance of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in W⋅m−2⋅nm−1. "Spectral emittance" is an old term for this quantity. This is sometimes also confusingly called "spectral intensity".
Radiant exposure He joule per square metre J/m2 MT−2 Radiant energy received by a surface per unit area, or equivalently irradiance of a surface integrated over time of irradiation. This is sometimes also called "radiant fluence".
Spectral exposure He,ν[nb 3]
or
He,λ[nb 4]
joule per square metre per hertz
or
joule per square metre, per metre
J⋅m−2⋅Hz−1
or
J/m3
MT−1
or
ML−1T−2
Radiant exposure of a surface per unit frequency or wavelength. The latter is commonly measured in J⋅m−2⋅nm−1. This is sometimes also called "spectral fluence".
Hemispherical emissivity ε 1 Radiant exitance of a surface, divided by that of a black body at the same temperature as that surface.
Spectral hemispherical emissivity εν
or
ελ
1 Spectral exitance of a surface, divided by that of a black body at the same temperature as that surface.
Directional emissivity εΩ 1 Radiance emitted by a surface, divided by that emitted by a black body at the same temperature as that surface.
Spectral directional emissivity εΩ,ν
or
εΩ,λ
1 Spectral radiance emitted by a surface, divided by that of a black body at the same temperature as that surface.
Hemispherical absorptance A 1 Radiant flux absorbed by a surface, divided by that received by that surface. This should not be confused with "absorbance".
Spectral hemispherical absorptance Aν
or
Aλ
1 Spectral flux absorbed by a surface, divided by that received by that surface. This should not be confused with "spectral absorbance".
Directional absorptance AΩ 1 Radiance absorbed by a surface, divided by the radiance incident onto that surface. This should not be confused with "absorbance".
Spectral directional absorptance AΩ,ν
or
AΩ,λ
1 Spectral radiance absorbed by a surface, divided by the spectral radiance incident onto that surface. This should not be confused with "spectral absorbance".
Hemispherical reflectance R 1 Radiant flux reflected by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Spectral hemispherical reflectance Rν
or
Rλ
1 Spectral flux reflected by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Directional reflectance RΩ 1 Radiance reflected by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Spectral directional reflectance RΩ,ν
or
RΩ,λ
1 Spectral radiance reflected by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Hemispherical transmittance T 1 Radiant flux transmitted by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Spectral hemispherical transmittance Tν
or
Tλ
1 Spectral flux transmitted by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Directional transmittance TΩ 1 Radiance transmitted by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Spectral directional transmittance TΩ,ν
or
TΩ,λ
1 Spectral radiance transmitted by a surface, divided by that received by that surface.
Hemispherical attenuation coefficient μ reciprocal metre m−1 L−1 Radiant flux absorbed and scattered by a volume per unit length, divided by that received by that volume.
Spectral hemispherical attenuation coefficient μν
or
μλ
reciprocal metre m−1 L−1 Spectral radiant flux absorbed and scattered by a volume per unit length, divided by that received by that volume.
Directional attenuation coefficient μΩ reciprocal metre m−1 L−1 Radiance absorbed and scattered by a volume per unit length, divided by that received by that volume.
Spectral directional attenuation coefficient μΩ,ν
or
μΩ,λ
reciprocal metre m−1 L−1 Spectral radiance absorbed and scattered by a volume per unit length, divided by that received by that volume.
1. ^ Standards organizations recommend that radiometric quantities should be denoted with suffix "e" (for "energetic") to avoid confusion with photometric or photon quantities.
2. Alternative symbols sometimes seen: W or E for radiant energy, P or F for radiant flux, I for irradiance, W for radiant exitance.
3. Spectral quantities given per unit frequency are denoted with suffix "ν" (Greek)—not to be confused with suffix "v" (for "visual") indicating a photometric quantity.
4. Spectral quantities given per unit wavelength are denoted with suffix "λ" (Greek).
5. ^ a b Directional quantities are denoted with suffix "Ω" (Greek).