Stilb (luminance)

The stilb (sb) is the CGS unit of luminance for objects that are not self-luminous. It is equal to one candela per square centimeter or 104 nits (candelas per square meter). The name was coined by the French physicist André Blondel around 1920.[1] It comes from the Greek word stilbein meaning "to glitter".

It was in common use in Europe up to World War I. In North America self-explanatory terms such as candle per square inch and candle per square meter were more common.[2] The unit has since largely been replaced by the SI unit: candela per square meter. The current national standard for SI in the United States discourages the use of the stilb.[3]

Unit conversion

\mathrm{1\, \frac{cd}{m^2} = 10^{-4}\, sb}

\mathrm{1\, sb = 1\,\frac{cd}{cm^2} = 10^4\,\frac{cd}{m^2}}

\mathrm{1 \, sb = 10^4 \, nit = 10^7 \, millinit}

\mathrm{1 \, sb = 1 \pi \, L = 10^3 \pi \, mL = 10^4 \, \pi \, asb = 10^4 \pi \, blondel = 10^7 \pi \, sk = 10^{11} \pi \, bril}

\mathrm{1 \, sb = 10^4\,\frac{cd}{m^2} \approx 0.3048^2 \cdot 10^4 \cdot \pi \,\, fL = 2918.6...\, fL}

See also

Other units of luminance:

  • Nit (nit and millinit)
  • Apostilb (asb)
  • Blondel (blondel)
  • Skot (sk)
  • Bril (bril)
  • Lambert (L and mL aka millilambert)
  • Footlambert (fL)

SI photometry units

Quantity Unit Dimension Notes
Name Symbol[nb 1] Name Symbol Symbol
Luminous energy Qv [nb 2] lumen second lm⋅s T⋅J [nb 3] units are sometimes called talbots
Luminous flux Φv [nb 2] lumen (= cd⋅sr) lm [nb 3] also called luminous power
Luminous intensity Iv candela (= lm/sr) cd [nb 3] an SI base unit, luminous flux per unit solid angle
Luminance Lv candela per square metre cd/m2 L−2⋅J units are sometimes called nits
Illuminance Ev lux (= lm/m2) lx L−2⋅J used for light incident on a surface
Luminous emittance Mv lux (= lm/m2) lx L−2⋅J used for light emitted from a surface
Luminous exposure Hv lux second lx⋅s L−2⋅T⋅J
Luminous energy density ωv lumen second per metre3 lm⋅sm−3 L−3⋅T⋅J
Luminous efficacy η [nb 2] lumen per watt lm/W M−1⋅L−2⋅T3⋅J ratio of luminous flux to radiant flux
Luminous efficiency V 1 also called luminous coefficient
See also: SI · Photometry · Radiometry

Notes and references

  • Stilb at A Dictionary of Units of Measurement, Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Accessed June 2008.
  • Stilb at Accessed June 2008.
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