Show your support for community science. Donate to Public Lab »

Public Lab Wiki documentation

  • 6

Spectral Workbench

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


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
How to use the API to export a constant stream of data? @Reallygeek 6 days ago
How do we confirm the current version of the software? @quencher 12 days ago
How should i go about converting svgs to jpgs or pngs @Flameytail 17 days ago
Does anyone know what image processing spectral workbench does to find intensity at wavelength/ where to find the coding for that? @Reallygeek 18 days ago
Calibaration or switching scale? @jayjay70 4 months ago
Delete my profile? @MEC08 5 months ago
Starlight Recorder KIC8462852 @LightWaveResearch8000 5 months ago
How To Make Time Lapse Spectrometer @LightWaveResearch8000 5 months ago
"Use or calibrate calibration" dont show my reference CFL already calibrated @JSAENZ 5 months ago
Image is blue - First time @LightWaveResearch8000 5 months ago
Show 48 more
Copying Calibration @Ridwane 7 months ago
Suppression of background light @saeed957 8 months ago
I have a 3.0 spect andt cant download drivers, What should I do? @alanrday 9 months ago
Cannot find colour spectrum @SpencerH 9 months ago
Fraunhofer Lines at higher resolutions? @stef 11 months ago
What are the units on the X axis for the spectrum capture for the Desktop Spectrometry Kit 3.0 @Schoster 11 months ago
Save and Download buttons -where does the file save or download to? @testtube 11 months ago
How to get spectral data in excel or other formats @suha 11 months ago
orientation of slit vs that of diffraction grating @wlkwong 12 months ago
Spectral Workbench recording time? @dhale2 about 1 year ago
Calibration of spectra fails @Paul_P about 1 year ago
Why copy calibration does not apply? @aelobo about 1 year ago
Intensity for spectra too low? @chuynh451 about 1 year ago
Error on calibrating uploaded spectrum @sarahcm about 1 year ago
how to delete my spectra on Spectral Workbench @redleon about 1 year ago
Calibration Issues with larger images @Anmar over 1 year ago
Can i upload csv files on spectralworkbench for calibration and other purposes? @shubham over 1 year ago
Question: Is Global Warming primarily man-made or a natural occurring phenomena? @dhaffnersr over 1 year ago
Question: Using a webcam with a image resolution of 1920x1020 @seko over 1 year ago
How to rename a set on Spectral Workbench? @AndrewJamesLaplante over 1 year ago
Question: How do I get the calibration user interface? @PeterDH over 1 year ago
Question: Why average? And what happens to the second Green? @viechdokter over 1 year ago
Difference CFL and Tube light? @Joris over 1 year ago
Question: desktop spectrometer 3.0 light sensitivity @Joris over 1 year ago
Question: Why won't the spectrum plot show once the image has been uploaded? @litar over 1 year ago
Question: Focus on mobile phone @clownfish over 1 year ago
Question: ccd camera on metascop @leanr over 1 year ago
Getting the spectrometer to work with a Raspberry Pi? @anjohn12 over 1 year ago
Automated captures? @viechdokter over 1 year ago
Question: total beginner problems @viechdokter over 1 year ago
Question: Spectrometer using photosensor @Abhay7417 almost 2 years ago
Question: How do I save the calibration data? @mokeymark almost 2 years ago
Question: Micro volume spectrometer using arduino and light detecting resistor. @Abhay7417 almost 2 years ago
Question: can't save spectrum anymore @eigentuininhuis almost 2 years ago
can't get the calibration right @eigentuininhuis almost 2 years ago
What size (width and height) of the image to vertical upload (blue top) in SpectralWorkbench? @asasergio almost 2 years ago
Question: How do I measure the absorption spectrum of a sample? @lucca_fabani almost 2 years ago
Calibrating @daniel94 about 2 years ago
Question: What does the vertical scale mean? @someHerrings about 2 years ago
Question: Is there a way to delete a set of spectra from the spectral work bench? @ethanbass about 2 years ago
Question: Help @porbe about 2 years ago
Question: Why I can not upload images to calibrate @congminhqt over 2 years ago
Question: downloading spectrum @mebaumga over 2 years ago
Question: Stray light correction @SIMJEDI over 2 years ago
Question: Colorimetry using the desktop spectrometer @mattiecaroline1991 over 2 years ago
Question: deep UV @mebaumga over 2 years ago
Question: @edilberto over 2 years ago
Question: "live" compare to camera feed @wecapa over 2 years ago

Ask a question  or help answer future questions


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!

Title Author Updated Likes
No matching content.

Ask a question  or help answer future questions

spectrometer spectralworkbench spectrometry software spectral-workbench tool method