Beam Patterns

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Flashlight beam principle

The principle states that the farther the flashlight illuminates a stronger light, the larger the spot is. The light beam emitted by the flashlight is not a parallel but a scattered light distributed at a small cone angle.

Considering the attributes of light traveling in a straight direction, it is evident that the longer the distance is, the larger the spot will be.

What is the beam pattern?

It is a collection of light with a particular relationship in space, dividing into concentric beams and parallel beams.

Parallel Beam: A parallel beam gets emitted by a luminous point at infinity, which corresponds to a plane wave.

Concentric Beam: A concentric beam consists of light emitted by a luminous point; it corresponds to a spherical wave.

Why can you see the beam when you shoot a flashlight into the sky?

The light beam is visible because the small suspended particles in the air reflect the light. The Tyndall effect is what we call it.

The light emitted from the flashlight is not insufficiently concentrated. So, when it is scattered around, we can see the light beam, but the laser light will not.

Why is the light beam emitted by the flashlight, not a parallel beam?

The illuminator of the flashlight is not a point light source, and not all of the light gets scattered from the focal point of the reflective bowl. The core area is still not negligible even for LEDs with small packages like CREE XP-G when used in Wuyou flashlights (usually matching reflectors with a less than 35mm diameter).

The projected spot area will be significantly different using LEDs with varying core areas for the exact reflector ( like XP-G and XM-L).

Errors in the reflector's manufacturing and assembly may also be to blame. There is more or less the problem that its focus does not coincide with the center of the LED.

Beam Patterns Pictures


In fact, the flashlight does not need to pursue the smaller the spot, the better. Many players who are just getting started like to pursue long-range shots (that is, the cone angle of the flashlight beam is small, the beam is concentrated, and the spot is small). Too small, the light spot is dazzling, and it is not comfortable to actually use this kind of flashlight.