Low-cost (<€5), open-source, potential alternative to commercial spectrophotometers

Pereira, V.R and Hosker, B.S (2019) 'Low-cost (<€5), open-source, potential alternative to commercial spectrophotometers.' PLoS Biology, 17 (6). e3000321. ISSN 1545-7885

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000321


Spectrophotometry is a fundamental technique in many areas of science, with many applications and uses. The cost of spectrophotometers has acted as a barrier on the teaching and use of the technique. Here, we provide open-source plans to a 3D-printed cuvette holder with an interchangeable narrow–spectral bandwidth light-emitting diode (LED) block that can be used in conjunction with a smartphone’s ambient light sensor (ALS) to perform spectrophotometry. A Lego version with an interchangeable LED block is also presented. Results from the smartphone spectrophotometer in comparison with commercially available spectrophotometers demonstrated functionality, and the model may have many applications, especially in indirect spectrophotometry, such as in the protein assay shown here. The plans for the 3D-printed model are freely available on GitHub, as are editable files to allow customisation by users. We would encourage users to share adaptations with the scientific community.

Item Type: Article

The article is available to read at the URL above.

Supporting information for the article includes emission spectra of LEDs used, absorbance spectra of solutions, further detail on construction of 3D-printed model, and discussion of adaptations including data for light intensity over time with and without a resistor. This information is available on the article webpage or directly accessible from the URL below.

Keywords: spectrophotometers, cell phones, light, light emitting diodes, spectrophotometry, 3D printing, emission spectra, optical materials
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000321
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2019 12:42
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:52
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/12328
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)