Public Lab Wiki documentation



Spectrometry



The Public Lab spectrometry project is an open source community effort to develop low-cost spectrometers for a range of purposes. All open spectrometry hardware and software efforts are welcome here!

Join in by:


Starter Kits

Public Lab’s Kits initiative offers several starter kits, including many of the basic components, and instructions for constructing a basic visible light spectrometer. The point of the kits is to provide a shared reference design for building experimental setups onto.

Lego Spectrometer Kit

Our most recent kit, incorporating community improvements while balancing low cost and ease of construction. Choose between webcam and Raspberry Pi camera versions and build attachments width standard Lego connectors.

Build one Buy one

Papercraft Spectrometry Intro Kit

A $9 paper spectrometer which you can attach to a smartphone or webcam. It’s made of paper to reduce cost and complexity, and is mainly intended as an “introductory” or educational kit. The flat design can be printed on a laser printer or photocopied to make more.

Build one Buy one


Activities

This is a list of community-generated guides for specific applications using your spectrometry setup (either a starter kit or a modded design). These activities can be categorized, and some may be more reproduced -- or reproducible -- than others. Try them out to build your skills, and help improve them by leaving comments. Together, we can repeat and refine the activities into experiments.

Note: If you are working on an urgent issue such as a threat to your or someone else’s health, please know that these techniques may not be ready for your use; it's possible that they never will be. Read more here

Activity grid

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Detecting Pesticides in Organic and Conventional Raspberries using Open Source Instrumentation - - @silverhammer - hard 0 replications: Try it »
Detection of Added Sugar in Red Wine Using Visual Light Spectroscopy - - @ygzstc - - 0 replications: Try it »
Flame testing metal salts observe - @kgradow1 3h medium 0 replications: Try it »
Calibrate your spectrometer in Spectral Workbench verify review-me @warren 15m easy 5 replications: Try it »
Detection of Olive Oil Adulteration (with Peanut Oil) Using Visual Light Spectroscopy - - @ygzstc 10h medium 0 replications: Try it »
Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit 3.0 Assembly Instructions build complete @abdul 45min introductory 1 replications: Try it »
Tracking Plant Health Using Visible and Infrared Light -- Initial Experiences at an Arts High School - - @Travis New Contributor - - 0 replications: Try it »
Build a papercraft spectrometer for your phone -- version 2.0 - - @warren - - 2 replications: Try it »
PLab 3 Gain Correction - - @stoft - - 0 replications: Try it »
Preparing a DVD-R to act as a diffraction grating - - @MrBumper - - 0 replications: Try it »
Assemble a DIY Papercraft Spectrometer build complete @abdul 10min introductory 3 replications: Try it »
Water Quality Measurements with Optical Spectroscopy - under-development @philippg - - 0 replications: Try it »
Fat percent in milk - - @wagnerc4 New Contributor - - 0 replications: Try it »
Using the Spectroscope for Analysis of Concentration (Beer's Law) test-limits - @straylight 3h medium 0 replications: Try it »
Light Amber - - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Lycopene - - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Make a narrow slit for a DIY spectrometer out of paper - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Spectrometer 3.0 Cuvette Add-on - - @programmer1200 - - 0 replications: Try it »
DIY-spectrometer episode 2 (using LEGO) - - @TakeshiMatsumoto - - 0 replications: Try it »
Scan and compare different gases (in discharge tubes, like neon) using a DIY spectrometer - - @warren - - 14 replications: Try it »
Classroom Flame Spectroscopy - - @straylight - - 0 replications: Try it »
Fraunhofer - - @cfastie 30m easy 1 replications: Try it »
WIP Raspberry Pi Spectrometry automation - - @jaksch - - 0 replications: Try it »
Testing the Oil Testing Kit: identifying a "somewhat unknown" sample - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Importing spectra from NIST and WebMineral.com to Spectral Workbench - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Draft: Collect a sample for laboratory analysis - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Draft: How to intergrate spectral data geometrically - - @madafe New Contributor - - 0 replications: Try it »
Attempt at Quantitative Analysis for Desktop Spectrometer - - @ben.alley43 New Contributor - - 0 replications: Try it »
See the Fraunhofer absorption lines in sunlight verify draft @warren 1h easy 4 replications: Try it »
Noise by colour - - @viechdokter - - 0 replications: Try it »
Setup for UV Testing with Specrtrometer - - @JoshMc - - 0 replications: Try it »
Stress-testing the Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit test-limits in-progress @warren 1h medium 0 replications: Try it »
Show 22 more

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.


Upgrades

Have you added to your starter kit, improved it, or redesigned it? Show others how to take it to the next level by posting a build guide here:

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Builds
Ebert - - @cfastie - - 0 builds: Try it »
Stability upgrade mockup for PLab Spectrometer 3.0 build review-me @stoft 1h easy 1 builds: Try it »
OTK Proto3 - - @stoft - - 0 builds: Try it »
PLab 3 Spectrometer Upgrade Prototype - - @stoft - - 0 builds: Try it »
Constructing a Desktop Spectrometer with no Wood, and no Velcro build in-progress @abdul 1h easy 0 builds: Try it »
Some Suggestions for Spectrometer v3.0 and Oil Testing Kit (OTK) Attachment - - @ygzstc - - 0 builds: Try it »
Reduce light inside foldable PL spectrometer - - @xose - - 0 builds: Try it »
3D printed mini spectrometer - - @rthalman New Contributor - - 0 builds: Try it »
Prototype of easy-to-build rigid spectrometer housing - under-development @warren 3h easy 0 builds: Try it »
Reduce interior reflections in your spectrometer with black ink build review-me @warren 10m easy 2 builds: Try it »
Camera Focus IR Filter Removal - - @stef - - 0 builds: Try it »
How to do upgrade Desktop Spectrometer Kit 2.0 to the version 3.0 - in-progress @pablo - - 0 builds: Try it »
Ongoing design of compact cuvette frame - under-development @warren 5h medium 0 builds: Try it »
Spectrometer Light Tight Cover Build build - @stef 30m easy 0 builds: Try it »
Laser-cut the Desktop Spectrometry Kit v3 box - - @warren - - 0 builds: Try it »
PLab-3 Proto Slit Upgrade - - @stoft - - 0 builds: Try it »
All Paper-n-Tape Mock-Up Upgrade of PLab 3 Spectrometer build - @stoft - - 0 builds: Try it »
Build Instructions For The DH 4.0 v4 Spectrometer build review-me @dhaffnersr 3h medium 0 builds: Try it »
A more compact spectrometer - - @cristoforetti - - 0 builds: Try it »
Spectrometer 3.0 Upgrades - - @programmer1200 - - 0 builds: Try it »
An evolution of the Spectrometer for 3D printing - - @ajy00 - - 0 builds: Try it »
Build Instructions For The DH 4.0 v4 Spectrometer build in-progress @dhaffnersr 3h medium 0 builds: Try it »
Show 12 more

Add your upgrade guide here Request or propose an upgrade

Mods should include a parts list and a step-by-step construction guide with photo documentation. See an example.


Challenges

We're working to refine and improve DIY spectrometry on a number of fronts; here, take a look at the leading challenges we're hoping to solve, and post your own. For now, we're using the Q&A feature, so just click "Ask a question" to post your own challenge.

Be sure to add:

  • constraints: expense, complexity
  • goals: performance, use cases

Title Author Updated Likes
Can the spectrometer or turbocharger be used for lal testing? @Ag8n 7 months ago
How can we detect contaminants in water samples with a DIY spectrometer using reagents? @warren 10 months ago
Can a DIY spectrometer be used to measure water turbidity? @warren 10 months ago
What's an easy way to compare two liquid samples with a spectrometer? @warren 12 months ago
How do I collect a sample for laboratory analysis? @warren about 1 year ago
Desktop Spectrometry Kit to arduino? @jjoll over 1 year ago
Can a Spectrometer be used to detect material type? @jjoll over 1 year ago
What are good containers to use for spectrometry samples? @warren about 2 years ago
Can I upgrade a DIY spectrometer with a Raspberry Pi camera? @warren about 2 years ago
Question: Can DIY-spectrometer be used for analysis of soil @interestedperson_ha New Contributor over 2 years ago
Getting the spectrometer to work with a Raspberry Pi? @anjohn12 New Contributor over 2 years ago
Show 1 more

Ask a question  or help answer future questions


Builds

There’s a lot going on in open source spectrometry -- if you’ve developed another open source design you’d like to show others how to construct, post it here!

What's spectrometry?

Colored light is often a blend of different colors. A spectrometer is a device which splits those colors apart, like a prism, and measures the strength of each color. A typical output of a spectrometer looks like this spectrum of the daytime sky, with the actual light spectrum at the top and the graph of wavelength (horizontal axis, in nanometers of wavelength) and intensity (vertical axis) below:

sky.png

Needed: overview of spectra, calibration, units, comparison, and fluorescence/absorption. Please edit this page or link to a resource, potentially the Wikipedia page, although that's quite full of technical jargon.

Software

Spectral data can be analyzed with https://spectralworkbench.org to create spectra plots, find centers of emissions plots, and find similar spectra. Data also can be exported in various formats (JSON, CSV, XML) for further analysis and visualization.

How does this compare to a lab instrument?

The Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit is only one part in an experimental setup, and the following shows where it fits in an overall diagram of a lab spectrometric setup:

tmp_31873-IMG_20161027_101601_2-79757779.jpg

tmp_31873-IMG_20161027_095939_2-108076392.jpg

There are many, many different types of spectrometry and spectrometers -- many don’t even measure light. Even among those that do, some detect light in the ultraviolet range, and others in the infrared range of light.

The range of Public Lab spectrometers depends on the range of the commercially available cameras we attach them to (~400-700 nanometer wavelengths). A commercially available product with a slightly wider range (from 335 to 1000 nanometers) is available from Cole Parmer.


Frequently Asked Questions

Title Author Updated Likes
[SOLVED] Why is my image of the spectrum extremely "slim"? DVD+RW is not good as a diffraction grating! @jaksch 3 months ago
How can I get the absorption spectra once I have calibrated my spectrometer data? @amenzel8 New Contributor 3 months ago
Most accurate spectrographs? @jneish 3 months ago
Best light source for spectrometer? @jneish 3 months ago
How to measure nutrient concetration in hydroponic system? @Aleksi12358 3 months ago
Dark images, can't get spectrometer to work @Tomas0413 4 months ago
Can I use a DVD or does it have to be a DVD-R ? @tmanmerlin New Contributor 4 months ago
could anyone tell me if it is possible to use the homemade spectrometer to analyze a sample of metal? @gabrielxp46 New Contributor 5 months ago
How do I...place the new webcam @stinge_nz New Contributor 5 months ago
Which Public Lab kit is best for testing the impact of different camera settings? @MaggPi 6 months ago
Do a DVD is provided with the LEGO kit ? ty ! @adamsanta New Contributor 7 months ago
can a spectrometer be used to measure color of water ? @thangvu New Contributor 7 months ago
Quantitative analysis of wood moisture @MarcioPamplona New Contributor 7 months ago
How do I make sure the "YELLOW LINE" threshold is the same for each measurement with the spectormeter (trying to maintain consistent conditions for experiments across multiple days) @Dr_Z 7 months ago
Lego Spectrometer suitable for studying sunlight? @jsbonillam 8 months ago
Possible sources of more spectrometer information @Ag8n 8 months ago
Can I get a file of numbers instead of a graph from the foldable spectrometer software? @mountevans New Contributor 9 months ago
How to interpret the results? @amir129 New Contributor 9 months ago
Preferred slit size? @asnow 9 months ago
Do I need to use a DVD-R? Will a CD-R work too? @jordankc New Contributor 9 months ago
Camera that would detect at 1064nm? @jpschaaf New Contributor 9 months ago
Whats the detection limit of the Desktop Spectrometry kit? @partyparrot4eva New Contributor 9 months ago
Quantifying Phytonutrients using a Spectrometer, Possible? @zayas New Contributor 10 months ago
I want to know a method to quantify milk proteins using the foldable mini spectrometer, Is this possible? @julsmill 10 months ago
How can we detect contaminants in water samples with a DIY spectrometer using reagents? @warren 10 months ago
Can a DIY spectrometer be used to measure water turbidity? @warren 10 months ago
Noise when Trying to Analyze Spectrum @matthart610 New Contributor 10 months ago
Does anyone know what image processing spectral workbench does to find intensity at wavelength/ where to find the coding for that? @Reallygeek 11 months ago
Does the Beer Lambert law apply to the opacity of reagents? @warren 11 months ago
Would the desktop spectrometry kit work for measuring fluorescent responses? @ICSK New Contributor 11 months ago
Can I use a Diffraction Grating Slide Holographic 1000 lines/mm instead of the CD? @oglezsa New Contributor 12 months ago
How to connect a creative cam notebook with a smartphone? @KushalKC 12 months ago
What's an easy way to compare two liquid samples with a spectrometer? @warren 12 months ago
Calibaration or switching scale? @jayjay70 New Contributor about 1 year ago
Spectrometry: degrees between gratings or camera and baseline @obisidian New Contributor about 1 year ago
How To Make Time Lapse Spectrometer @LightWaveResearch8000 over 1 year ago
Assembly completed but the camera doesn't work. @1987123 New Contributor over 1 year ago
Desktop Spectrometry Kit to arduino? @jjoll over 1 year ago
Any way to improve on the DVD grating? @dsvilko New Contributor over 1 year ago
Can a Spectrometer be used to detect material type? @jjoll over 1 year ago
Can this camera be suitable to make a spectrometer v3.0? @osetroff over 1 year ago
Alternative spectrometry sample cells for Hach DR900 @fieldlab over 1 year ago
Desktop Spectrometer Kit Availablility @bicwood New Contributor over 1 year ago
How do I... @Mekis over 1 year ago
Testing Water For Specific Polluting Compounds @rajanzaveri New Contributor over 1 year ago
Paper size for stiff matte black card insert @Vman over 1 year ago
making a slit in spectrometer @vafa New Contributor over 1 year ago
JDEPC-OV05 camera intelligent exposure @tim_spec New Contributor over 1 year ago
what causes spectral colors to be reversed? @vgoebel New Contributor over 1 year ago
Fraunhofer Lines at higher resolutions? @stef over 1 year ago
How to get spectral data in excel or other formats @suha New Contributor over 1 year ago
Ambient/Light Bulb Testing @idev247 New Contributor almost 2 years ago
Photoreactive purple dye: can it block wavelengths longer than green? @axman New Contributor almost 2 years ago
Identify Plastic Material Using Infrared Imaging @shaikhgous New Contributor almost 2 years ago
Is the webcam from spectrometer v2.0 suitable for the upgrade to 3.0? @pablo almost 2 years ago
Is there an iPhone app for foldable spectrometer? @CanfieldC New Contributor almost 2 years ago
Error on calibrating uploaded spectrum @sarahcm New Contributor almost 2 years ago
How do you use infrared light with the DIY Public Lab Spectrometer 3.0? @haribhimaraju New Contributor about 2 years ago
how to delete my spectra on Spectral Workbench @redleon New Contributor about 2 years ago
What are good containers to use for spectrometry samples? @warren about 2 years ago
Can I upgrade a DIY spectrometer with a Raspberry Pi camera? @warren about 2 years ago
What sensor would I need to detect spectra of small organisms (virtus, bacteria etc) @fouadalnoor New Contributor about 2 years ago
How can I reduce ambient light inside the Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit? @warren about 2 years ago
What mechanical specs can and should PLab spectrometers meet? @stoft about 2 years ago
Arc Emissions- What electrodes to use? @m3sca1 New Contributor about 2 years ago
Is there a simple and reliable way to test the rigidity of the spectrometer? @bsugar about 2 years ago
How can a spectrometer's wavelength resolution be measured? @warren about 2 years ago
Can i upload csv files on spectralworkbench for calibration and other purposes? @shubham about 2 years ago
How to neutralize/remove the source's spectra to obtain absorption spectra? @shubham about 2 years ago
Spectrometer from a drone @sylvainbonhommeau New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: Can DIY-spectrometer be used for analysis of soil @interestedperson_ha New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: Using a webcam with a image resolution of 1920x1020 @seko New Contributor over 2 years ago
Mini spectrophotometer - how does this deviate from the Beer-Lambert law? @FoxClass New Contributor over 2 years ago
How to rename a set on Spectral Workbench? @AndrewJamesLaplante New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: How do I get the calibration user interface? @PeterDH New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: Why average? And what happens to the second Green? @viechdokter over 2 years ago
Question: Calibration... @Georgi New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: Focus on mobile phone @clownfish New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: I want to do citizen bee science @FortunaWolf New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: ccd camera on metascop @leanr New Contributor over 2 years ago
Getting the spectrometer to work with a Raspberry Pi? @anjohn12 New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: How to I convert the spectrum from the webcam to a spectral power density graph. @cjtiaan New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: RE: Desktop Spectrometry Kit @Airship7 New Contributor over 2 years ago
Question: Desktop Spectrometry Kit @clmchenr about 3 years ago
Question: Can signal be exported from Spectral Workbench? @clmchenr about 3 years ago
Question: Range @Gasam New Contributor over 3 years ago
Question: IR filter in the camera @Ripingill New Contributor over 3 years ago
Question: the camera look only white and dont have focus...it´s teh camera bad? @masolaric New Contributor almost 4 years ago
Question: Will the desk top spectrometer sense wear metals in motor oil? @upson New Contributor about 4 years ago
Sample container search @warren about 4 years ago
Question: More of a comment, really @bowlerhatman New Contributor about 4 years ago
Accuracy of assembled Desktop Spectrometry kit? @WhiteRabbit about 4 years ago
Question: Can the Public Labs Desktop Spectrometer analyze light from a patch of grass? @WhiteRabbit about 4 years ago
Question: any low light settings for web cam used in desktop spectrometry kit? @Henry0815 New Contributor over 4 years ago
Show 84 more

Ask a question  or help answer future questions

Note our previous Frequently Asked Questions page, which can be found here » -- please help port these into the new system, here!


Public Lab is open for anyone and will always be free. By signing up you'll joined a diverse group of community researchers and tapped into a lot of grassroots expertise.

Sign up