Public Lab Wiki documentation

Spectral analysis

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This is a page to compile, share, and publish research about near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared spectroscopy/spectrometry analysis techniques. Not all will be applicable to our DIY spectrometer, but many are a good starting point for investigation. If you want to publish research, post it on the Public Lab site and you can add it here too.

If you'd like to try applying some of this research, take a look at the Spectrometry Activities page and the Spectrometry Sampling guide.


First, let's start with some already available spectral databases, many of which may be very difficult to search or use, but which can be used as a basis for identification. Perhaps some could eventually be imported into Spectral Workbench.

Compiled research

Some of the below papers describe other types of spectroscopy such as mid-infrared (MIR) or Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and the data they present will not be compatible/comparable with that which we gather in the 400-900nm range. But their methodologies may be a useful reference for those looking to reach similar results in the range our instruments can detect.

For each use case below, there might be several approaches to analysis. Read more about different kinds of spectrometry such as fluorescence, absorption, and flame emission spectrometry here: Spectral Analysis Techniques

Household products

Metals and soil

Atomic emission spectra databases:


Wine & grapes


Coral/Aquariums/Grow lights

Agricultural uses




Food Contamination Detection