The Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit (now at version 3.0) is our most recent “reference design” incorporating some community improvements while balancing low cost and relative ease of construction. The DSSK was originally created as part of the Public Lab Spectrometry Project’s goal of identifying suspected oil residue after the BP oil spill.
We have not yet met all our intended goals for this design, which is still being refined by contributors like you. Explore its capabilities in the Activity grid, and post your own for others to try. Improve on this design by (for example) adding a sample holder or attaching a light, and contributing to the Additions & Modifications section section of the main spectrometry page.
- Limitations and goals
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Assembly - including link to parts list and plans
- Get involved in the next revision
Many basic improvements or additions can improve the capabilities of the DS3. But with the starter kit alone, you should be able to:
- Measure spectra with ~3 nanometer resolution (help refine this)
- Measure light from 400-700 nanometers (roughly the range of human vision) or more if you upgrade your kit
Can you propose an experiment to provide a better answer?
Limitations & Goals
Because most webcams’ exposure compensation cannot be disabled, we don’t know if or how much colors have been “boosted” between different photos. Because of this, you can compare spectra taken with the same device, but you can't necessarily compare between different devices -- but this is a challenge we’re working towards (see gain calibration in the grid below).
Note: If you are working on an urgent issue such as a threat to your or someone else’s health, please know that these techniques may not be ready for your use; it's possible that they never will be. Read more here
Add limitations here in the form of questions like "How can we correct for gain compensation in webcams?" so that others can propose solutions. Propose a solution, upgrade, or new feature yourself by first posing the question it addresses:
Ask a new question to explore further possible upgrades
Here are some which we'd like to adapt into question/answer format:
- Gain calibration: correct for the gain compensation of most webcams using a calibrated light source
- Improve the rigidity of the device: see rigidity upgrades
- Attach a light source and a sample holder to scan samples
These are some activities specific to the Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit -- for a full list of activities you can do with a DIY spectrometer, see the main Spectrometry page
|Calibrate your spectrometer in Spectral Workbench||verify||review-me||@warren||15m||easy||5 replications: Try it »|
|Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit 3.0 Assembly Instructions||build||complete||@abdul||45min||introductory||1 replications: Try it »|
|Spectrometer 3.0 add-on v2||-||-||@programmer1200||-||-||0 replications: Try it »|
|See the Fraunhofer absorption lines in sunlight||verify||draft||@warren||1h||easy||4 replications: Try it »|
|Spectrometer 3.0 Upgrades||-||-||@programmer1200||-||-||0 replications: Try it »|
|Stress-testing the Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit||test-limits||in-progress||@warren||1h||medium||0 replications: Try it »|
Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.
Guides should include a materials list and a step-by-step construction guide with photo documentation. Learn what makes a good activity here.
Have you added to your starter kit, improved it, or redesigned it? Show others how to take it to the next level by posting a build guide here:
Mods should include a parts list and a step-by-step construction guide with photo documentation. See an example.
Get involved in the next revision
As these upgrades mature, the Kits initiative will incorporate some into the Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit itself (depending on cost & complexity) as part of our commitment to an open hardware design process
Frequently Asked Questions
This section is for questions about the Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit, specifically. For questions about spectrometry in general, see this FAQ.
Using your spectrometer
Once you've assembled your spectrometer and are ready to use it, plug it in and visit SpectralWorkbench.org to begin recording data with it. The web-based software works in the Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers on most computers and smartphones.
Public Lab is not a corporation; we're an open community of DIY environmental science researchers which you have just joined! The best place to get help is the spectrometry mailing list; to join, sign up in the form to the left.
The spectrometry mailing list is made up of people like you, who are building and improving open source spectrometry techniques. Ask questions, look for help, and consider helping others too!
You can also post a question on this site; it helps to share some photos or screenshots of what you're trying to do:
Assembly instructions are now provided as a step-by-step activity; leave feedback and ask questions in the comments below:
Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit 3.0 Assembly Instructions - by @mathew, @warren, and @abdul -- formerly hosted on this page.
Print assembly instructions
instruction_booklet_1.0-print-halfpage.pdf - Print a cleaned-up version of this page from a PDF
spectrometer3.0-instructions1.0-booklet.pdf - Print a booklet-formatted version from a PDF
- lens focus: /n/7226
- grating angle: /n/5964 /n/5892
- spectrometer development history: /n/10691
- removable slit cards: /n/11246
Consult the following notes on development for the evolution of this design: