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Need a Spectrophotometer? Here's What You Should Know

Three things to ask about when buying a UV-Vis instrument in particular

by Lab Manager
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buying tips for UV-Vis spectrophotometers

Maintenance Tip: UV-Vis Spectrophotometers

UV-Vis spectrophotometers aren’t very demanding to take care of. All they need is regular cleaning and careful monitoring of the lamp life. Just keeping the instrument in a clean place, if possible, can help. As for lamp life, many of today’s instruments will send an alert when it’s time to change the lamp if it falls below a certain output. Dim lamps generate less light and more noise, so it’s important to change them when needed.

How does the type or matrix of the sample influence which spectrophotometer should be used?

The type of sample and matrix will have a direct effect on which configuration of UV-Vis spectrophotometer is ideal. For typical aqueous samples, a spectrophotometer with an absorbance from 5 Å or lower may be ideal. However, if working with solids and turbid or concentrated liquids, ensuring the device is capable of reading up to or greater than 8 Å may be the best fit for the laboratory.

How will the laboratory’s analytical requirements affect which type of UV-Vis spectroscopy is the best fit?

The wavelength and precision requirements of the laboratory will play a pivotal role in the configuration of UV-Vis spectrophotometer required. For instance, most spectrophotometers operate at a range of 190 1100nm. If higher wavelengths are required for future use, then getting a spectrophotometer capable of being upgraded to a higher range—such as 1400nm—may be beneficial. As well, ensuring the resolution capabilities are in line with the needs of the laboratory is important.

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How will sample throughput and reproducibility determine which type of UV-Vis spectrophotometer is ideal?

Laboratories with high sample throughput needs will benefit from looking into systems which have automation abilities, and the ability to run multiple samples at the same time (including microplate analysis for low sample usage and high throughput). For laboratories which are looking for a more accurate and reproducible result, investing in a dual beam system, which eliminates error by compensating for variation in lamp output and human error from the blanking of the instrument, may be a wise decision. As well as the reduction in error, the analysis speed is faster, as the instrument is able to reference a blank and analyze the sample simultaneously.

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