Public Lab Wiki documentation

Spectral Workbench

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What is Spectral Workbench? is a web based application to collect, archive, share, and analyze spectral data, for Public Lab DIY spectrometers and other spectrometers.

With it, you can:

  • connect your USB Desktop Spectrometry Kit
  • scan and save samples
  • wavelength calibrate your spectrometer
  • plot light intensity as a function of wavelength (average digital consumer cameras have a range of 400 to 700 nm)
  • create sets of multiple spectra to visually compare and analyze scans
  • download CSV data for offline analysis
  • view others' data and discuss
  • find similar data in a database of over 60k spectra

No download is required -- just a web connection. The Chrome browser works best, but most standard-compliant browsers are supported. It is possible to use from an Android smartphone, preferably with the Firefox browser which allows you to specify which camera to look through.


Intro video


Spectral Workbench should work on Chrome (in Windows/Mac/Linux/Android, but not iOS), Firefox (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android), or Opera (Android). It may work on other browsers and we are working on expanding coverage; read more on this page:


Do you code? The codebase of Spectral Workbench is available at The server is written in Ruby on Rails, with a lot of client side code in JavaScript. You can read about the JavaScript API here.

We really need more developers, so if you are interested, please get involved! A great place to start is the "plots-dev" mailing list for software developers:


We're collecting and working our way through a range of questions about Spectral Workbench -- if you can contribute your own questions, or answer others', please do!

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
SW-V1 down samples the input to 256 samples irrespective of the native camera pixels available has this been fixed in V2? @stef 3 months ago 1
Using Thunderoptics spectrophotometer @jeffkrol 4 months ago 4
I recently built and attached the paper spectrometer to my android smartphone. when I connect to the spectral workbench software and hit the camera icon, permission to my camera is requested. However, after I grant permission, no image appears in the spec @Ldei 5 months ago 6
What light sources might I use to calibrate my spectrometer if I don’t have a CFL available? @mimiss 9 months ago 3
Problem whit workbench spectra. Unable to manipulate(work) whit any image @damian_orovitz 9 months ago 1
copying calibration issue @kog62290 about 1 year ago 1
Spectral Workbench so slow on raspberry pi zero @danieisnietgek about 1 year ago 3
How do I select the back camera of the smartphone? @renatoianhez over 1 year ago 2
Sorry for asking such a elementary question, what does the intensity % means? Can it shows how strong the light source is? Is it in terms of lux? @willieong over 1 year ago 1
Can you calibrate this? @jela0194 over 1 year ago 0
Is copy calibration on Spectral Workbench working? @microfibers almost 2 years ago 2
How do I get the webcam feed on Spectral Workbench? @KenSuke almost 2 years ago 1
How do I search for the spectra recorded by a specific user? @nnn16 almost 2 years ago 5
Can detect the camara,but can't show image @JHYeh about 2 years ago 1
Spectral Workbench 1.0 seems much more stable than 2.0 and works well for the basic analysis I am trying to do, can I get access to 1.0 without being pushed to 2.0? @B-winters about 2 years ago 1
Instruction videos don't work! @aemilius89 about 2 years ago 4
changing default webcam @julietalemus about 2 years ago 2
How can I connect my gopro to SpectralWorkbench software? Is there other open software that would? @CD3000 about 2 years ago 3
Only seeing part of color spectrum @msolomon about 2 years ago 6
copying calibration issue @ceberndsen over 2 years ago 0
Standalone Spectrometry software & uploading JPG or PNG spectra @lach_myers over 2 years ago 7
My uploaded file will not process. @JadaBada over 2 years ago 3
How can I get the absorption spectra once I have calibrated my spectrometer data? @amenzel8 over 2 years ago 1
Why do raw RGB values differ from calibrated RGB values? I thought calibration just set pixels to wavelength (nm)? @troyb over 2 years ago 17
Bug : Impossible to calibrate this mercury vapour spectrum @SarahC over 2 years ago 2
Bug? My Spectrum loads then vanishes. @SarahC over 2 years ago 2
Link for perfect CFL on Amazon UK? @SarahC over 2 years ago 1
Amazon UK - Link for perfect CFL? All mine are wide spectrum phosphor! @SarahC over 2 years ago 5
Has anyone experienced difficulty to log in this site? I having the trouble since yesterday. Not just log in, but to save spectrum too (sometimes can log in but take a long loading). sorry for my bad english. @silvi_ap51 over 2 years ago 9
The spectrum gets vertical no matter how I upload the picture. @wangdydu over 2 years ago 8
comparison betweeen spectra made by manufacturer and spectralbench? @miramon almost 3 years ago 3
How do I use SpectralWorkbench.js to auto-calibrate? @shenzj1994 almost 3 years ago 0
Can you get color temperature from spectra @miramon almost 3 years ago 2
Can I get a file of numbers instead of a graph from the foldable spectrometer software? @mountevans almost 3 years ago 4
I can't enter a password when I try to login to Spectral Workbench. So I can't log in at all. @storacremu about 3 years ago 6
CSV files from spectra @Dr_Z about 3 years ago 3
I want to know a method to quantify milk proteins using the foldable mini spectrometer, Is this possible? @julsmill about 3 years ago 3
I want to know a method to quantify milk proteins (cow milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk) using the foldable mini spectrometer, Is this possible? @julsmill about 3 years ago 1
How to use the API to export a constant stream of data? @Reallygeek about 3 years ago 7
How do we confirm the current version of the software? @quencher about 3 years ago 4
How should i go about converting svgs to jpgs or pngs @Flameytail about 3 years ago 3
Does anyone know what image processing spectral workbench does to find intensity at wavelength/ where to find the coding for that? @Reallygeek about 3 years ago 10
Calibaration or switching scale? @jayjay70 over 3 years ago 1
Delete my profile? @MEC08 over 3 years ago 1
Starlight Recorder KIC8462852 @LightWaveResearch8000 over 3 years ago 1
How To Make Time Lapse Spectrometer @LightWaveResearch8000 over 3 years ago 2
"Use or calibrate calibration" dont show my reference CFL already calibrated @JSAENZ over 3 years ago 1
Image is blue - First time @LightWaveResearch8000 over 3 years ago 3
Copying Calibration @Ridwane over 3 years ago 1
Suppression of background light @saeed957 over 3 years ago 3
Cannot find colour spectrum @SpencerH almost 4 years ago 2
Fraunhofer Lines at higher resolutions? @stef almost 4 years ago 2
What are the units on the X axis for the spectrum capture for the Desktop Spectrometry Kit 3.0 @Schoster almost 4 years ago 2
Save and Download buttons -where does the file save or download to? @testtube almost 4 years ago 2
How to get spectral data in excel or other formats @suha almost 4 years ago 4
orientation of slit vs that of diffraction grating @wlkwong about 4 years ago 2
Spectral Workbench recording time? @dhale2 about 4 years ago 4
Calibration of spectra fails @Paul_P about 4 years ago 13
Why copy calibration does not apply? @aelobo about 4 years ago 1
Intensity for spectra too low? @chuynh451 about 4 years ago 4
Error on calibrating uploaded spectrum @sarahcm about 4 years ago 9
how to delete my spectra on Spectral Workbench @redleon over 4 years ago 1
Calibration Issues with larger images @Anmar over 4 years ago 8
Can i upload csv files on spectralworkbench for calibration and other purposes? @shubham over 4 years ago 1
Question: Using a webcam with a image resolution of 1920x1020 @seko over 4 years ago 1
How to rename a set on Spectral Workbench? @AndrewJamesLaplante over 4 years ago 4
Question: How do I get the calibration user interface? @PeterDH over 4 years ago 3
Question: Why average? And what happens to the second Green? @viechdokter over 4 years ago 10
Difference CFL and Tube light? @Joris over 4 years ago 5
Question: desktop spectrometer 3.0 light sensitivity @Joris over 4 years ago 1
Question: Why won't the spectrum plot show once the image has been uploaded? @litar over 4 years ago 6
Question: Focus on mobile phone @clownfish over 4 years ago 1
Question: ccd camera on metascop @leanr almost 5 years ago 7
Getting the spectrometer to work with a Raspberry Pi? @anjohn12 almost 5 years ago 6
Automated captures? @viechdokter almost 5 years ago 10
Question: total beginner problems @viechdokter almost 5 years ago 9
Question: Spectrometer using photosensor @Abhay7417 almost 5 years ago 1
Question: How do I save the calibration data? @mokeymark almost 5 years ago 21
Question: Micro volume spectrometer using arduino and light detecting resistor. @Abhay7417 almost 5 years ago 5
Question: can't save spectrum anymore @eigentuininhuis almost 5 years ago 9
can't get the calibration right @eigentuininhuis almost 5 years ago 3
What size (width and height) of the image to vertical upload (blue top) in SpectralWorkbench? @asasergio almost 5 years ago 4
Question: How do I measure the absorption spectrum of a sample? @lucca_fabani about 5 years ago 5
Calibrating @daniel94 about 5 years ago 5
Question: What does the vertical scale mean? @someHerrings about 5 years ago 6
Question: Is there a way to delete a set of spectra from the spectral work bench? @ethanbass about 5 years ago 6
Question: Help @porbe over 5 years ago 2
Question: Why I can not upload images to calibrate @congminhqt over 5 years ago 7
Question: downloading spectrum @mebaumga over 5 years ago 1
Question: Stray light correction @SIMJEDI over 5 years ago 0
Question: Colorimetry using the desktop spectrometer @mattiecaroline1991 over 5 years ago 0
Question: deep UV @mebaumga over 5 years ago 5
Question: @edilberto almost 6 years ago 1
Question: "live" compare to camera feed @wecapa almost 6 years ago 3
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If you feel you've encountered a bug with the software -- very possible! Please look through existing issues listed here, file a new one if you don't see something similar, and help to add any observations to existing issues shown here.

Thanks for helping improve this open source software!

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