Evaluating the performance of a double integrating sphere in measurement of reflectance, transmittance, and albedo of coniferous needles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • SGL Technologies GmbH


Leaf reflectance and transmittance spectra are essential information in many applications such as developing remote sensing methods, computing shortwave energy balance (albedo) of forest canopies, and monitoring health or stress of trees. Measurement of coniferous needle spectra has usually been carried out with single integrating spheres, which has involved a lot of tedious manual work. A small double integrating sphere would make the measurements considerably faster, because of its ease of operation and small sample sizes required. Here we applied a compact double integrating sphere setup, used previously for measurement of broad leaves, for measurement of coniferous needles. Test measurements with the double integrating sphere showed relative underestimation of needle albedo by 5–39% compared to a well-established single integrating sphere setup. A small part of the bias can be explained by the bias of the single sphere. Yet the observed bias is quite significant if absolute accuracy of measurements is required. For relative measurements, e.g. for monitoring development of needle spectra over time, the double sphere system provides notable improvement. Furthermore, it might be possible to reduce the bias by building an optimized measurement setup that minimizes absorption losses in the sample port. Our study indicates that double spheres, after some technical improvement, may provide a new and fast way to collect extensive spectral libraries of tree species.


Original languageEnglish
Article number10270
JournalSilva Fennica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Albedo, Needle carrier, Reflectance, Spectra, Transmittance, Vegetation

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