Build your own Open Source Spectroscope
The Desktop Spectrometry Kit includes all the parts for you to build your own visible/near-infrared spectrometer, also known as a spectroscope or spectrophotometer. In less than 30 minutes of assembly, you can plug it into your computer with a USB cable and begin using the open source software and website to collect spectra -- the "fingerprint" of a material.
The kit includes:
- a diffraction grating (a slice of a DVD-R)
- a piece of black card paper from which to cut your aperture slit
- a small HD webcam and USB cable
- an aluminum Type LB conduit enclosure
- a strip of double-sided foam adhesive for mounting your webcam
- instructions and a copy of the CERN Open Hardware License
This open source instrument is capable of better than 3 nanometer spectral resolution and can record light from ~390 to ~900nm. Though experimental, this tool has already been used to collect spectral data on contaminated water, laundry detergent, wines, and fishtank lights. You can help to improve it and find new applications!
What is Spectrometry?
What we perceive as a single color consists of multiple blended colors- just as green paint can be made from mixing yellow and blue paint. A spectrometer is a device that splits light into the various colors it is composed of, which we otherwise cannot distinguish with the naked eye. By viewing a substance through a spectrometer, one can distinguish the exact mixture of colors, which correspond to specific wavelengths of light. These can be compared to other spectra to help identify the sample.