How Advanced Optics Improve the Uniformity of LED Grow Lighting

How Advanced Optics Improve the Uniformity of LED Grow Lighting

As the cannabis industry goes mainstream and legalization sweeps North America, professional cannabis growers are finding themselves standing alongside horticulturalists on the forefront of urban food production in determining the most effective means of producing bountiful harvests indoors in a cost-effective manner. With inefficient and poorly assembled LED fixtures flooding the market, it’s important to consider the quality of the fixtures you’re specifying for your grow facility.

A lighting manufacturer will be keen to boast about their megawatt fixture and the savvy ones will focus on their overall PAR output, but there is one very important factor that growers are grappling with in large scale cultivation operations; Uniformity.

Hot Spots and Dark Spots

Sub-standard LED grow lights focus their beams haphazardly in the general direction of the plants, but that’s about the extent of their directionality. PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density), the measure of the density of available PAR falling on the plant canopy, is the most important metric in horticultural growing.

High levels of PPFD signify a fixture that is getting more of the PAR to the plants without excess spill into the aisles and onto the walls of your facility. This is good for efficiency and for the success of the crop. However, some of these PPFD readings can be somewhat misleading. Beware of lighting manufacturers that only provide a single PPFD reading from the center of a growing area. This does not properly take into account the variance of light levels across the grid of your canopy.

Uneven lighting from your grow lights can create hot spots on a section of the crop, causing a single plant to get vastly more light than its immediate neighbor residing in a dark spot.  This disunity creates a growing environment prone to fluctuation in output. Growers want a consistent, reliable yield from their grow operation, and so do we.

Improving Uniformity with Advanced LED Optics

SpecGrade LED grow lights are designed to throw a consistent, even beam of light across the entire crop area. This is achieved with high density LED chips together with carefully engineered optics integrated into each LED. These optics shape the spread of the fixture’s light output to focus it directly onto the plants, rather than spilling into the aisles. If a lighting manufacturer boasts a solid PPFD number, make sure they’re giving you an average of several measurement points across the entire canopy of plants to ensure that you’re getting the full picture.

More specifically, when you have a room full of grow lights, the PAR from one light will inevitably spill over into the adjacent area thereby increasing the averages.  Actually, this spill-over effect is a more accurate measurement of what you can expect in your grow area(s). In addition, reflective surfaces will also factor into the equation.  Meaning, a room painted with white surfaces will increase the light levels more than a room with concrete gray floors and unpainted block walls with a ceiling full of aluminum ductwork.

Combined with a professional lighting arrangement that accounts for the beam spreads and assures an even degree of lighting in each section of your lighting grid, advanced LED grow lights like Linea and Verta series create a more predictable harvest amidst healthy grow conditions for the plants themselves.

If you’re interested in getting the perfect uniformity of healthy LED light across your entire grow facility, speak with a SpecGrade engineer for a photometric calculation of your canopy and LED grow fixtures designed to provide even, balanced, reliable light for your plants for years to come.


Speak with SpecGrade LED today.