April 1, 2009
about 6 years ago
First, while “bright” is a descriptive term, it has no specific technical meaning.
My experience is that when most people refer to “brightness” they are talking about either intensity or sterance. For these, they are talking about luminous intensity == luminous flux emitted within a specific solid angle (lumens/steradian). Intensity for these devices is typically higher than for incandescent sources that emit more total flux.
On the other hand, sterance would be luminous intensity/unit area. Commonly discussed as the “brightness” of an entire surface. Unless you place the light source behind some diffusing material (aka. the coffee cup), the apparent size of the light source is very small. (point source)
If you want to see more information on LED’s and eye safety, you could visit the Avago web sites. They used to be the HP Optoelectronic Division and they have a number of well written application notes on the subject.
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