How to Choose a Spectrometer

Mandeep Goher

Many scientists and researchers need to have different lab equipment and tools to complete their job. Most of the time, these are commonly found inside laboratories, kept clean and sanitized at all times to prevent contamination.

But it is impractical to conduct their studies inside the laboratory at all times, so they need to have the equipment they can use outside.

One of those tools is a Raman spectrometer used for spectroscopy. They use this tool to decompose and examine the elementary pieces that make up the spectrum of an ion beam or radiation. Since there are different spectrometers in the market, you need to know how to choose one to ensure you get the job done correctly.

Sensitivity and Detection

There are instances where you need to conduct a test on a sample, yet it only has very little light. Another factor when choosing a spectrometer is that it should be highly sensitive to detect even the tiniest of light.

You need to find spectrometers that are transmission grating-based, has a low f-number/high NA, and has a tall and wide input slit. You should also check whether the spectrometer has a cooled detector that enables long integration time. Lastly, it should have a highly sensitive CMOS detector with tall pixels.

Wavelength Span

Doing spectroscopy may require you to be at a specific distance from the sample to the spectrometer. This is where your wavelength range comes into play. Your sample may be too far from you in some cases, so your spectrometer needs to cover that distance.

When analyzing the color sample, the spectrometer you choose should cover the visible spectrum between 360 and 740 nm.

Resolution

The spectrometer you choose needs to discern between two wavelengths in close proximity together. You should determine the resolution of your spectrometer to ensure it scans the sample efficiently.

When your sample has sharp peaks within a distance of 0.5 nm, the spectrometer should also have a 0.5 nm resolution.

Size and Portability

The main reason you need a portable spectrometer is to carry it out wherever you need it and conduct tests on-the-fly. You need to keep in mind the spectrometer’s size so that you will not have a problem using it. Most of the portable spectrometers are handheld and can also be stored in your pocket. Bringing a large spectrometer to conduct field tests is never an option nowadays because of how long it takes to set up and collect samples.

Cost

Like with any lab equipment, you need to look for a spectrometer that fits your budget. Since you are looking for portability, a handheld spectrometer will not cost you as much. And if you are not very particular about the resolution, you can choose a low-resolution spectrometer to lower the price even more.

Speed

When collecting samples, the analysis speed should be fast enough not to take a long time to complete it. Spectrometers usually have fast, non-cooled cameras, making the sample analysis quicker, ensuring you finish your work as quickly as possible. You should also choose high through-put spectrometers since they can deliver fast data analysis.

Make sure to keep these tips in mind when choosing the right spectrometer. Choosing the correct one will not cause you any trouble during data analysis or sample collecting. You also need to look for reliable manufacturers to ensure your spectrometer will not wear out too quickly.

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