A method for optimizing the cosine response of solar UV diffusers

Tomi Pulli (Corresponding Author), Petri Kärhä, Erkki Ikonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Instruments measuring global solar ultraviolet (UV) irradiance at the surface of the Earth need to collect radiation from the entire hemisphere. Entrance optics with angular response as close as possible to the ideal cosine response are necessary to perform these measurements accurately. Typically, the cosine response is obtained using a transmitting diffuser. We have developed an efficient method based on a Monte Carlo algorithm to simulate radiation transport in the solar UV diffuser assembly. The algorithm takes into account propagation, absorption, and scattering of the radiation inside the diffuser material. The effects of the inner sidewalls of the diffuser housing, the shadow ring, and the protective weather dome are also accounted for. The software implementation of the algorithm is highly optimized: a simulation of 109 photons takes approximately 10 to 15 min to complete on a typical high‐end PC. The results of the simulations agree well with the measured angular responses, indicating that the algorithm can be used to guide the diffuser design process. Cost savings can be obtained when simulations are carried out before diffuser fabrication as compared to a purely trial‐and‐error‐based diffuser optimization. The algorithm was used to optimize two types of detectors, one with a planar diffuser and the other with a spherically shaped diffuser. The integrated cosine errors—which indicate the relative measurement error caused by the nonideal angular response under isotropic sky radiance—of these two detectors were calculated to be f2=1.4% and 0.66%, respectively.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7897-7904
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • solar UV
    • cosine response
    • diffusers
    • Monte Carlo


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