Public Lab Wiki documentation

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
Can detect the camara,but can't show image @JHYeh new contributor 22 days ago
Instruction videos don't work! @aemilius89 about 2 months ago
changing default webcam @julietalemus about 2 months ago
How can I connect my gopro to SpectralWorkbench software? Is there other open software that would? @CD3000 2 months ago
Only seeing part of color spectrum @msolomon 3 months ago
copying calibration issue @ceberndsen 5 months ago
Standalone Spectrometry software & uploading JPG or PNG spectra @lach_myers 6 months ago
My uploaded file will not process. @JadaBada 6 months ago
How can I get the absorption spectra once I have calibrated my spectrometer data? @amenzel8 7 months ago
Why do raw RGB values differ from calibrated RGB values? I thought calibration just set pixels to wavelength (nm)? @troyb 7 months ago
Bug : Impossible to calibrate this mercury vapour spectrum @SarahC 8 months ago
Bug? My Spectrum loads then vanishes. @SarahC 8 months ago
Amazon UK - Link for perfect CFL? All mine are wide spectrum phosphor! @SarahC 8 months ago
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 8 months ago
The spectrum gets vertical no matter how I upload the picture. @wangdydu 9 months ago
comparison betweeen spectra made by manufacturer and spectralbench? @miramon 12 months ago
How do I use SpectralWorkbench.js to auto-calibrate? @shenzj1994 12 months ago
Can you get color temperature from spectra @miramon 12 months ago
Can I get a file of numbers instead of a graph from the foldable spectrometer software? @mountevans 12 months ago
I can't enter a password when I try to login to Spectral Workbench. So I can't log in at all. @storacremu about 1 year ago
CSV files from spectra @Dr_Z about 1 year ago
I want to know a method to quantify milk proteins using the foldable mini spectrometer, Is this possible? @julsmill about 1 year ago
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 1 year ago
How to use the API to export a constant stream of data? @Reallygeek about 1 year ago
How do we confirm the current version of the software? @quencher about 1 year ago
How should i go about converting svgs to jpgs or pngs @Flameytail about 1 year ago
Does anyone know what image processing spectral workbench does to find intensity at wavelength/ where to find the coding for that? @Reallygeek about 1 year ago
Calibaration or switching scale? @jayjay70 over 1 year ago
Delete my profile? @MEC08 over 1 year ago
Starlight Recorder KIC8462852 @LightWaveResearch8000 over 1 year ago
How To Make Time Lapse Spectrometer @LightWaveResearch8000 over 1 year ago
"Use or calibrate calibration" dont show my reference CFL already calibrated @JSAENZ over 1 year ago
Image is blue - First time @LightWaveResearch8000 over 1 year ago
Copying Calibration @Ridwane over 1 year ago
Suppression of background light @saeed957 over 1 year ago
Cannot find colour spectrum @SpencerH almost 2 years ago
Fraunhofer Lines at higher resolutions? @stef almost 2 years ago
What are the units on the X axis for the spectrum capture for the Desktop Spectrometry Kit 3.0 @Schoster almost 2 years ago
Save and Download buttons -where does the file save or download to? @testtube about 2 years ago
How to get spectral data in excel or other formats @suha about 2 years ago
orientation of slit vs that of diffraction grating @wlkwong about 2 years ago
Spectral Workbench recording time? @dhale2 about 2 years ago
Calibration of spectra fails @Paul_P about 2 years ago
Why copy calibration does not apply? @aelobo about 2 years ago
Intensity for spectra too low? @chuynh451 about 2 years ago
Error on calibrating uploaded spectrum @sarahcm over 2 years ago
how to delete my spectra on Spectral Workbench @redleon over 2 years ago
Calibration Issues with larger images @Anmar over 2 years ago
Can i upload csv files on spectralworkbench for calibration and other purposes? @shubham over 2 years ago
Question: Is Global Warming primarily man-made or a natural occurring phenomena? @dhaffnersr over 2 years ago
Question: Using a webcam with a image resolution of 1920x1020 @seko over 2 years ago
How to rename a set on Spectral Workbench? @AndrewJamesLaplante over 2 years ago
Question: How do I get the calibration user interface? @PeterDH over 2 years ago
Question: Why average? And what happens to the second Green? @viechdokter over 2 years ago
Difference CFL and Tube light? @Joris over 2 years ago
Question: desktop spectrometer 3.0 light sensitivity @Joris over 2 years ago
Question: Why won't the spectrum plot show once the image has been uploaded? @litar almost 3 years ago
Question: Focus on mobile phone @clownfish almost 3 years ago
Question: ccd camera on metascop @leanr almost 3 years ago
Getting the spectrometer to work with a Raspberry Pi? @anjohn12 almost 3 years ago
Automated captures? @viechdokter almost 3 years ago
Question: total beginner problems @viechdokter almost 3 years ago
Question: Spectrometer using photosensor @Abhay7417 almost 3 years ago
Question: How do I save the calibration data? @mokeymark almost 3 years ago
Question: Micro volume spectrometer using arduino and light detecting resistor. @Abhay7417 almost 3 years ago
Question: can't save spectrum anymore @eigentuininhuis almost 3 years ago
can't get the calibration right @eigentuininhuis almost 3 years ago
What size (width and height) of the image to vertical upload (blue top) in SpectralWorkbench? @asasergio about 3 years ago
Question: How do I measure the absorption spectrum of a sample? @lucca_fabani about 3 years ago
Calibrating @daniel94 about 3 years ago
Question: What does the vertical scale mean? @someHerrings about 3 years ago
Question: Is there a way to delete a set of spectra from the spectral work bench? @ethanbass about 3 years ago
Question: Help @porbe over 3 years ago
Question: Why I can not upload images to calibrate @congminhqt over 3 years ago
Question: downloading spectrum @mebaumga over 3 years ago
Question: Stray light correction @SIMJEDI over 3 years ago
Question: Colorimetry using the desktop spectrometer @mattiecaroline1991 over 3 years ago
Question: deep UV @mebaumga over 3 years ago
Question: @edilberto almost 4 years ago
Question: "live" compare to camera feed @wecapa almost 4 years ago
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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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