BRDF: Measurement of the directional reflection of surfaces

The bidirectional reflectance distribution function describes the reflection properties of a material surface

© Fraunhofer IOSB
Optical reflection measurements of various materials, e.g. textiles, pastes, granulates, lacquers and coatings
Warnweste und rosa Lackprobe
© Fraunhofer IOSB
Effect pigments can create fascinating optical effects on surfaces of solid objects.

Applications of BRDF measurement

The BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution function) supports the quality control of materials where reflective properties are decisive for the quality of the surface, such as reflectors, space materials, car paints or coatings of sportswear.

There are also many examples for the technical and scientific use of reflections: In the inspection and visual inspection of surfaces, defects and faults can often only be detected by changing the reflection behavior at the point in question. In 3D computer graphics, reflection models are used to make scenes look as realistic as possible.


Optical reflections

Optical reflections on surfaces of objects and materials play a major role in science and technology. In the inspection and visual inspection of surfaces, defects and disturbances are often only detectable by a change in the reflection behavior at the respective location. In the case of surface design and coating with paints and varnishes in the consumer sector, the smallest reflection fluctuations are immediately noticed by the customer, since the human eye is very sensitive.

In remote sensing, detailed knowledge of the reflection behavior of natural materials is necessary for the correct evaluation of hyperspectral satellite images.
In the military sector, reflections on vehicles and persons can lead to undesired conspicuousness and detection.
In 3D computer graphics and scene generation reflection models are used to make objects look as realistic as possible.

Projects and Products


Spectral Reflectometer


Automated gonioreflectometer measuring system


Visualization and preparation of reflection data

Further Information


Flyer BRDF


Department SIG of Fraunhofer IOSB

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