The color cone

Alexander D. Logvinenko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


While the notion of a color cone can be found in writings of Maxwell, Helmholtz, Grassmann, and other scientists of the nineteenth century, it has not been clearly defined as yet. In this paper, the color cone is understood as the set of points in the cone excitation space produced by all possible lights. The spectral curve representing all the monochromatic lights is shown not to entirely belong to the color cone boundary, since its ends turn into the color cone interior. The monochromatic lights represented by the fragment of the spectral curve lying on the color cone boundary make up what is called the effective visible spectrum. The color cone is shown to be a convex hull of the conical surface through the fragment of the spectral curve representing the effective visible spectrum. The effective visible spectrum ends are shown to be determined by the photopigment spectral absorbance being independent of the prereceptor filters (e.g., the spectral transmittance of the lense and macular pigment).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-322
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • colour
  • vision science
  • optics


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