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Although the observer’s perception at the end of the display chain is how we assess the quality of a display, it is useful to have a set of quantitative physical measures to describe the performance of the display itself. This chapter describes the fundamental measurement units and the instruments used to measure light and color. Chapters 4–10 will describe the application of these measures.
The terms “light” and “color” are used because that is how we characteristically think of displays and other sources of light energy. As this chapter will show, light energy is measured in physical units but often described in units of perception or vision. Light invokes the perception of brightness; the wavelength distribution of light energy invokes the sensation of color. An understanding of both the physical and perceptual aspects is necessary to understand the literature that describes the performance of displays.
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