Toward a Replacement of the CIE Color Rendering Index for White Light Sources
Smet, Kevin × Whitehead, Lorne Schanda, Janos Luo, Ronnier M. #
Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
Leukos vol:12 issue:1-2 pages:61-69
The CIE color rendering (fidelity) index (CRI) has remained
unchanged for over four decades.Most, if not all, of its components could be updated to more state-of-the-art methods. One of the most critical components of any color
rendering (fidelity) metric is the test sample selection. This article therefore addresses the importance of uniform sampling of wavelength space to avoid selective optimization— that is, taking advantage of the unequal contributions of different wavelength regions to the general color rendering score—of light source spectral power distributions. It summarizes the development of a mathematical sample set with undistorted spectral sensitivity, the HL17 set. The set is used in a recently proposed update, the CRI2012 general color rendering index. To assess the impact of the spectrally uniform sample set on color fidelity scores, the CRI2012 index values for each of a set of 139 lamps were compared with those of the CIE CRI. In addition, the impact of updating the other components was investigated. A mean and maximum absolute difference of respectively 5.9 and 21.8 index units were found between the CRI2012 and CIE CRI, although the largest part—respectively 4.03 and 19.7 index units—was shown to be the result of updating the color difference engine and the
switch to the CIE 10◦ observer. The analysis also indicated possible past spectral selective optimization of some warm-white tri-band fluorescent sources for high luminous efficacy of radiation (LER) and (just) sufficient CIE Ra values by taking advantage of the spectral nonuniformity of the CIE reflectance set. Adopting a spectrally uniform sample set in a color rendering metric therefore has important practical implications when designing light source spectra. Finally, possible updates and further improvements of the CRI2012 are briefly mentioned.