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The Basics Of Spectrophotometry
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By: Tracy Bishop Email Article
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A spectrophotometer is an instrument used to measure the intensity of light as a function of its color. It is used expressly in spectrophotometry, which is the study of visible light, more specifically the ultra-violet and the infrared variety of lights. This instrument is used in a variety of scientific fields that include chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and molecular biology, among others. Apart from being very high end, it requires a lot of training to be used and read.

Types Of Spectrophotometers

There are usually two types of devices, classified on the basis of one possessing a single or a double beam. A single beam instrument measures the relative light intensity of a single beam, both before and after the insertion of a particular test sample. The double beam, on the other hand, measures the intensity between two different beams of light. It is useful to have both, so that a wider range of experiments and studies can be carried out.

Other kinds of spectrophotometers include ones with emission, which are used to study the radiation emitted from molecules that are animated to higher states of energy. Absorption instruments are used to study the effects on wavelengths when different levels of radiation are passed through them. Another one, namely the Fourier-transform spectrophotometer is used to study the absorption spectrum within a broad band of radiation. All these are highly specialized and have their unique purposes within the research field. Their creation and use have had a tremendous impact on research in a wide range of scientific arenas.

Using A Spectrophotometer

The instrument should be turned at least fifteen minutes before you begin to use it. Though, this is not always necessary, but studies have shown that the instrument works better if it is used this way. A knob is then used to set different wavelengths that need to be studied. By using special light filters, light sources, and cuvettes, extreme wavelengths can be generated and studied.

More simplistically, the instrument works by shining a light source through a particular sample which, as per the laws of science, either absorbs or reflects the light. The detector determines the amount of light absorbed or reflected which is calculated, quantified, and then, converted into a number.

Most of the companies that produce these instruments also manufacture a whole range of other equipment. Some of these are used for amino acid analysis, while others for microplate washing, and so on. All these are not only very sophisticated pieces of technology, but also require proper training and maintenance in order to be used. So, it is better to purchase this apparatus from a company that specializes in this equipment, as well as offers great servicing deals. After all, considering the degree to which these instruments are used, you do not want to have any issues with them that require frequent repairs and replacement. Choosing a reliable company helps ensure that not only do the microplate reader and the spectrophotometer perform at optimum level, but also do so consistently and over a long period of time. This goes a long way in enhancing the research and the results will also be as close to the desired ones as possible.

A spectrophotometer is a very complex instrument that is used to study the electromagnetic field and the intensity of light. This instrument, along with others that include the microplate reader, form the backbone of every physics, biochemistry, biology, and chemistry lab.

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