Science

Spectrophotometer Uses

Biology, physics, chemistry, microbiology, medicine, forensics, and textile industries are some areas where a spectrophotometer can be used.

What is Spectrophotometry?

We can get an idea of what this is by looking at its name carefully; ‘spectro’ means band of colors, ‘photo’ means light, and ‘meter’ is a device for measuring something. Thus, as the name suggests, a spectrophotometer is a measuring device, which compares properties of two kinds of light i.e., the wavelength.

Initially, the main utility of a spectrophotometer came into play, for the inability of the naked eye to mark the differences. There are umpteen number of compounds, and remembering and detecting the extinction coefficients are practically impossible.

Spectrophotometer comes in varied shapes and sizes. It looks like a bar code reader, fax machine, or a weighing scale, etc., depending on its size. It can be hand-held or kept on a table just like a printer. It works on the principle of measuring the light by its wavelength. This criterion exists for the functionality of the device. Molecules of various substances absorb different quantities of light, and also act differently when attempted to measure these factors while bombarding them with the ultraviolet light rays.

There are two types of spectrophotometers, viz., single and double beam. They differ in functionality. The former studies the compound at two different stages, i.e., before and after. The latter does the measuring simultaneously i.e., the comparison between the reference material and the compound to be tested, is done at one time.

What Is a Spectrophotometer Used For?

  • Spectroscopy
    It is also known as UV visible spectroscopy or simply called visible spectroscopy. This field of science deals with the absorption of light taking place in certain substances, and this is usually tested in small containers of the laboratory equipment. The containers are called cuvettes, and their material varies according to different purposes (for example, plastic, quartz, glass, etc).
  • Forensics
    A spectrophotometer is also used in forensic sciences, especially for determining facts and evidences. It is also utilized to determine the concentration of particular substances.
  • Medicine
    This device holds a tremendous amount of importance in the medical field. It has to measure the most minute changes in chemicals and enzymes, as it is very difficult to monitor these aspects of the human body. The extinction coefficients, optical density, Beer – Lambert, etc., are some theories that matter in detecting the changes. In molecular biology, one of the most essential use of the device is measuring the growth of microorganisms like bacteria.

The kind of spectrophotometer used can vary in its abilities; for example, the measurement capacity from a tiny quantity (nano spectrophotometer) to sizable quantities. Textile industries, manufacturers of printers, ink manufacturers, concentration of DNA and RNA, etc., are some other areas where a spectrophotometer is used. Originally published @ http://www.buzzle.com/articles/spectrophotometer-uses.html

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