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There are five key types of spectrophotometer available—UV-Vis, Vis, atomic absorption, fluorescence, and infrared—here's how to choose between them

by Lab Manager
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Spectrophotometers/spectrometers can be used to determine the chemical makeup of a solution or the concentration of a known substance in solution, such as DNA. These instruments measure the intensity of visible, UV, or infrared light that passes through a solution. When purchasing, consider what detection range you will require for your sample type and look for instruments that are sensitive, accurate, and consistent. For a list of spectrophotometer manufacturers, see our online directory: 

7 Questions to Ask When Buying a Spectrophotometer:

  1. What types of samples will you be measuring and what range of wavelengths will you require for those samples?
  2. What are the detection limits of the instrument?
  3. Do you need an instrument that can analyze multiple samples at a time?
  4. How long does it take to measure each sample?
  5. Do you need a double-beam instrument to increase your efficiency?
  6. How much space will the spectrophotometer take up in your lab?
  7. What software is available for measurement recording and analysis?

Purchasing Tip

There are a variety of accessories to choose from to accompany your spectroscopy instruments. These additional supplies can add flexibility and ease of use to your system, or enable you to conduct remote measurements if needed. Ask manufacturers what add-ons they offer.

Maintenance Tip

If you fail to keep your spectrophotometer clean, you can run into calibration issues. Make it a habit to wipe down the surfaces of the instrument with a moistened cloth and mild cleaning agent. If you have been using corrosive or salt solutions, clean the sample holder with a cotton swab dampened with ethanol or isopropanol. Finally, cuvettes should be rinsed with deionized water and allowed to dry upside down after use.