Public Lab Wiki documentation

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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!

Ask a question about Spectral Workbench

Title Author Updated Likes
Fraunhofer Lines at higher resolutions? @stef 25 days ago
What are the units on the X axis for the spectrum capture for the Desktop Spectrometry Kit 3.0 @Schoster 26 days ago
Save and Download buttons -where does the file save or download to? @testtube 29 days ago
How to get spectral data in excel or other formats @suha about 1 month ago
orientation of slit vs that of diffraction grating @wlkwong about 1 month ago
Spectral Workbench recording time? @dhale2 3 months ago
Calibration of spectra fails @Paul_P 3 months ago
Why copy calibration does not apply? @aelobo 3 months ago
Intensity for spectra too low? @chuynh451 4 months ago
Error on calibrating uploaded spectrum @sarahcm 4 months ago
Show 34 more
how to delete my spectra on Spectral Workbench @redleon 4 months ago
Question: Calibration Issues @Anmar 6 months ago
Question: Can i upload csv files on spectralworkbench for calibration and other purposes? @shubham 6 months ago
Question: Is Global Warming primarily man-made or a natural occurring phenomena? @dhaffnersr 6 months ago
Question: Using a webcam with a image resolution of 1920x1020 @seko 8 months ago
Question: How to rename a set? @AndrewJamesLaplante 8 months ago
Question: How do I get the calibration user interface? @PeterDH 9 months ago
Question: Why average? And what happens to the second Green? @viechdokter 10 months ago
Difference CFL and Tube light? @Joris 10 months ago
Question: desktop spectrometer 3.0 light sensitivity @Joris 10 months ago
Question: Why won't the spectrum plot show once the image has been uploaded? @litar 10 months ago
Question: Focus on mobile phone @clownfish 10 months ago
Question: ccd camera on metascop @leanr 10 months ago
Question: Getting the spectrometer to work with a Raspberry Pi? @anjohn12 10 months ago
Automated captures? @viechdokter 10 months ago
Question: total beginner problems @viechdokter 11 months ago
Question: Spectrometer using photosensor @Abhay7417 about 1 year ago
Question: How do I save the calibration data? @mokeymark about 1 year ago
Question: Micro volume spectrometer using arduino and light detecting resistor. @Abhay7417 about 1 year ago
Question: can't save spectrum anymore @eigentuininhuis about 1 year ago
can't get the calibration right @eigentuininhuis about 1 year ago
What size (width and height) of the image to vertical upload (blue top) in SpectralWorkbench? @asasergio about 1 year ago
Question: How do I measure the absorption spectrum of a sample? @lucca_fabani about 1 year ago
Calibrating @daniel94 about 1 year ago
Question: What does the vertical scale mean? @someHerrings about 1 year ago
Question: Is there a way to delete a set of spectra from the spectral work bench? @ethanbass over 1 year ago
Question: Help @porbe over 1 year ago
Question: Why I can not upload images to calibrate @congminhqt over 1 year ago
Question: downloading spectrum @mebaumga over 1 year ago
Question: Stray light correction @SIMJEDI over 1 year ago
Question: Colorimetry using the desktop spectrometer @mattiecaroline1991 over 1 year ago
Question: deep UV @mebaumga over 1 year ago
Question: @edilberto almost 2 years ago
Question: "live" compare to camera feed @wecapa almost 2 years ago

spectrometer spectralworkbench