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2015 UV-Vis Spectrophotometer Survey Results

Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectrophotometry is arguably the most common as well as one of the oldest forms of absorption-based analysis. UV and visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are contiguous: UV wavelengths range from 10 to 4000 angstroms; they are visible from 4000 to 7000 angstroms.

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Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the creative services director at Lab Manager.  He has more than two decades of experience in the fields of scientific...

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Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a UV-VIS Spectrophotometer

  1. For what applications will you be using the instrument for? This will help you determine the detection range you require. Don’t forget to consider future applications that may require a broader range.
  2. What range of stray light performance are you comfortable with for your application and budget?
  3. Consider what sort of samples you’ll be working with in order to determine what absorbance range you will need in your UV-Vis spectrophotometer. For example, if it is a turbid or concentrated liquid or a solid sample that is optically thick, you may require a working absorbance range between 5 Å and 8 Å or higher.
  4. What level of throughput and reliability do you need?
  5. How much will the instrument cost? Don’t forget to factor in the cost of maintenance, etc. along with the cost of acquisition.

Types of UV-VIS spectrophotometers used by survey respondents:

Single beam 59%
Dual beam 50%
Array based 14%
Handheld 6%
Other 2%

Top 10 spectrophotometer uses according to survey respondents:

Chemical Analysis 38%
Biochemistry and biology 23%
Environmental 21%
QA/QC 18%
Biochemical 15%
Proteins 14%
Color / dyes 12%
Drug discovery research 8%
Microbiology 7%
Biomarker & omics research 5%

Nearly 55% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new UV-Vis spectrophotometer. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an older spectrophotometer
Addition to existing systems
Need an instrument that provides faster acquisition and analysis of data
Need an instrument that provides excellent reproducibility
Need an instrument that has a broad range of accessories
Need an instrument that is simple to operate and maintain

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a UV-VIS spectrophotometer:

Excellent Reproducibility 80%
Wavelength Accuracy 73%
Ease-of-use 71%
Better Sensitivity and Resolution 65%
Ease of Maintenance/Low Operating Costs 64%
Price 58%
Warranties 45%
Service/Support in General 42%
Faster Acquisition and Analysis of Data 39%
Safety 39%

For more information on UV-VIS spectrophotometers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results