Public Lab Wiki documentation

Spectral Challenge event model

This is a revision from April 20, 2013 16:04. View all revisions
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Interested in Spectral Challenge? Not sure how to get started? Browse these steps, then pick and choose a sequence that works for you and your community!

Figuring out what you are interested in

Think about what environmental contaminants are of concern to you. For instance, lead, crude oil, PAH - polyaromatic hydrocarbons, e. coli bacteria, and many others.

Consider whether these contaminants are elements, molecules, biological, other? A rule of thumb is that the simpler the chemical structure, the simpler the spectrum.

Collecting known reference samples

Think about where you could get a sample of these contaminants.

  • For instance, if you are worried about fertilizer runoff from nearby farms, consider going to a farm supply store and buying a small quantity of common fertilizer.
  • Another example, if you are worried about fuel from a local waterfront fuel depot spilling into your waterways, you could go to the depot and ask the staff for a small sample.

Get ahold of a clean glass container, perhaps even order sterile glass container to avoid soap residue. One with flat sides and bottom will make it easier to shine light through.