How to Buy UV/Vis Spectrophotometers



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UV/Vis spectrophotometry is a common technique used for qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses, for a wide range of applications. Laboratories seeking a new UV/Vis spectrophotometer have many choices, from the simplest single-wavelength instruments to high-performance, multi-spectrum analyzers. This guide will highlight important considerations for purchasing a UV/Vis spectrophotometer.

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1. Basic Concepts

UV/Vis refers to the ultraviolet (UV) and visible (Vis) parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. The Joint Committee on Nomenclature in Applied Spectroscopy sets the far UV region at 10–200 nm, near UV at 200–380 nm and visible at 380–780 nm. Modern UV/Vis spectrophotometers typically have wavelength range from 190 nm to 1100 nm.

When a beam of electromagnetic radiation strikes an object, it can be absorbed, transmitted, scattered, reflected, or it can cause fluorescence. The processes that are involved in UV/Vis spectroscopy are absorption and transmission. When ultraviolet and visible radiation interacts with matter, electronic transitions take place; that is, electrons in the ground state are promoted to a high energy state. In particular, p to p* and n to p* transitions occur in the UV/Vis region.

Transmittance and Absorbance

When a beam of light passes through a sample, the amount of light absorbed is the difference between the incident radiation (Io) and the transmitted radiation (I). Transmittance and absorbance are terms used to express the amount of light absorbed by the sample (Table 1). Absorbance in older literature is also called 'extinction' or 'optical density' (OD).

Table 1. Transmittance and absorbance calculations.
Transmittance (T) Absorbance (A)
T=I/I0 A = -logT
%T=I/I0 x 100 Unit: theoretically, none, but 'A' or 'AU' are used to report absorbance measurements ('OD' is also sometimes used)

The Beer-Lambert Law

The Beer-Lambert Law (Figure 1) states that the concentration of an analyte in solution is directly proportional to the absorbance (A) of the solution.

Figure 1: Beer-Lambert Law

2. Application Considerations

UV/Vis spectrophotometry can be used for a wide range of applications over many disciplines including life sciences, pharmaceutical, food & beverage, environmental and materials science. When determining what specification and features you require, it is essential that you carefully consider the various applications that you may need your UV/Vis spectrophotometer to perform, not just now but in coming years. Important factors to take into account include:

 

  • Analytes: The wavelength of maximum absorption of analytes you wish to detect and quantify will determine the wavelength range you require from your spectrophotometer. Many UV/Vis spectrophotometers cover the whole of the UV/Vis spectrum, often from 190nm - 1100nm. However, some instruments designed specifically for life sciences applications have a narrower wavelength range.
  • Volume of samples to be analyzed: Those working with low volumes of precious samples, such as DNA or protein, will benefit from investment in a micro-volume spectrophotometer, which can analyze as little as 0.5µL of sample. On the other end of the scale, some can accommodate large cuvettes – to provide lower detection limits of trace analytes - or even solid samples.
  • Regulated industry: Those working in regulated industries, such as food and beverage manufacturing or the pharmaceutical industry, will require instruments to be compliant with industry standards and often have advanced QC and security features.
  • Software and usability: Consider the user interface and inclusion of software features such as predefined methods and data analysis. This can enhance ease-of-use, enabling improved workflow efficiency and reduced training needs. Find out more about software and data management.
  • Future applications: Do you foresee any future application needs which would require a larger spectral range, different sample volumes or additional software features?

 

Read on to discover some of the latest instruments on the market and their relevant applications.

 

Life Sciences & Drug Discovery

In life sciences, UV/Vis absorbance spectrophotometry is commonly used to quickly and easily determine nucleic acid concentration and assess sample purity. In protein biology, it is used to quantify proteins, either directly or through a Bradford assay. UV/Vis can also be utilized to monitor cellular and microbial growth, ELISA and kinetic assays.

Important features you should consider:

  • Micro-volume samples
  • Predesigned and customizable applications – the ability to select common methods, such as Bradford assay, enzyme kinetics and nucleic acid quantification
  • Temperature control

 

Key Life Sciences Technologies

The UV5Bio and UV5Nano Excellence (Figure 2) instruments from Mettler Toledo International Inc. are designed specially to optimize life sciences workflows. The FastTrack™ technology enables full spectrum scans within one second. In addition to direct measurements, a library of pre-verified biological methods, such as Bradford and Lowry assays, can be selected quickly through the One Click™ touchscreen, further adding to the system’s efficiency and ease-of-use. Methods can also easily be edited and up to 50 methods stored on the instrument for quick analysis. Find out how DNA or protein concentration and purity can be easily determined using the UV5Nano.

The UV5Nano is designed for micro-volume samples, such as DNA. The LockPath™ Technology requires just 1µL of sample to make a reliable measurement at a wide concentration range - from 6 to 15 ng/µL of dsDNA.

The next generation of the NanoDrop™ 2000/c, the Thermo Scientific™ NanoDrop™ One (Figure 3) offers enhanced features and functions. The micro-volume instrument requires just 1µL of sample and includes time-saving Auto-Blank and Auto-Measure modes. Acclaro™ Sample Intelligence technology allows accurate quantification of nucleic acid in the presence of common contaminants such as proteins and phenol. Discover how this technology provides a quantitative method for contaminant identification by downloading this technical note, or read this article to find out the opinions of scientists who have used the NanoDrop™ One in their research.

The DS-11 FX+ (Figure 4) by DeNovix Inc. is an all-in-one, compact spectrophotometer and fluorometer. The addition of four fluorescent channels allows for a wide fluorophore excitation range, making it possible to run a wide variety of fluorescence assays. Another notable feature is the instrument’s SmartPath® Technology, which allows accurate measurements with as little as 0.5 to 1µL of sample. Watch this interview to find out how researchers are using the DS-11 FX+ to enable analysis of low abundance DNA samples, or download this technical note to learn about four different protein quantification assays the instrument can perform.

The DropSense®96 Content Analysis Platform (Figure 5), by Trinean, is designed for high throughput quantification of nucleic acid or protein samples, making it ideal for applications such as quality control during NGS library preparation. Quantification is performed in 96-well microfluidic plates and only 2µL of sample is required per well. Additional features include integration with a liquid handling robot, built-in barcode tracker and contaminant quantification. Learn how this instrument can be used in biopharmaceutical development and RNA extraction.

The versatile Epoch™ 2 (Figure 6), from BioTek Instruments Inc., is a compact microplate spectrophotometer that performs UV/Vis measurements in 6- to 384-well microplates, cuvettes and in 2µl micro-volume samples. Additional features include incubation up to 65°C and advanced shaking profiles for applications such as cell-based assays and bacteria cultures as well as an ability to integrate automated liquid handling. Discover a method for testing the freshness of tissue based on ATP depletion using the Epoch™ 2.

 

Regulated Industry & Applied Chemistry

UV/Vis spectrophotometry can be applied to a wide range of applications, including:

 

  • Materials science: Analysis of a range of materials including glass, metals, and paint as part of material development as well as for quality control.
  • Pharmaceutical: Quantitative analysis of drug formulations, aid in quality control, drug development and delivery.
  • Food and beverage: Quantitative determination of ingredients and drinking water analysis.
  • Environmental analysis: Analysis of trace analytes in waste and environmental waters.
  • Clinical diagnostics and medical research: Many clinical analyses, and increasingly used for non-invasive analysis of soft tissues.

 

Important features you should consider:

 

  • Accommodation of your sample type and volume
  • Compliance with industry regulations
  • Wavelength range

 

Key Industry & Applied Technologies

The UV7 (Figure 7), the top instrument in the Mettler-Toledo UV/Vis Excellence line, promises superior optical performance for high quality analyses. The UV7 is compliant with strict European and USP pharmacopeia regulations. The Mettler-Toledo FastTrack™ UV/VIS technology, an array-based spectrograph with xenon flash lamp, delivers a spectrum scan over the complete wavelength range within seconds and without warm-up time. Learn how the UV7 can be used in a wide range of applications, from analysis of ibuprofen in accordance with EU Pharmacopeia, to determination of sugar content in food and beverages.

The UV/Vis Excellence line also aims to address the increasing demands for time-consuming performance verification in regulated laboratories by offering the CertiRef module, a fully automated pharmacopeia-compliant solution, with the UV7, UV5 and UV5Bio spectrophotometers. In addition, the Excellence range can be easily integrated with other Mettler-Toledo instruments using LabX software, to facilitate any laboratory workflow. 

Figure 7: Mettler-Toledo UV7

The range of Aquarius CE 7400S, CE 7400 / 7500 Spectrophotometers (Figure 8) from Cecil Instruments Limited feature variable or fixed bandwidths and a double-beam optical system, which aims to provide both high accuracy and stability. The devices can be fully accessorized with a wide range of additional features, including pre-programmed methods and temperature control, making them flexible to a variety of applications. Download this brochure to find out more about the instrument’s double-beam optical system.

The LAMBDA 650 UV/Vis Spectrophotometer (Figure 9) from PerkinElmer is a very flexible UV/Vis system which is ideal for chemistry and materials science applications. It offers dual sampling compartments which can accommodate a large sample size and can perform measurements of liquids, gels and solid materials. For those in regulated industries, the software is also available in an Enhanced Security (ES) 21 CFR Part 11 compliant format. Also, there is the option for addition of integrating spheres (60 mm and 150 mm), which allow for high-precision reflectance and scattered transmittance measurements, thereby expanding the instrument’s potential applications in materials science . Learn more about integrating spheres or download a method for colorimetric analysis of glucose in soft drinks.

The MilliporeSigma Spectroquant® Prove (Figure 10) models are designed specifically for water analysis applications. The instrument can accommodate cuvettes with a pathlength of up to 100mm, allowing for highly sensitive detection of trace analytes. Additionally, the range features Live ID software, which tracks samples, and the AutoSelector technology, which automatically recognizes cell size and detects the analysis method, improving the efficiency of the workflow. Learn how bromate or nitrate can be quantified on the Spectroquant® Prove and how this is ensuring drinking water safety.

3. Consideration for Instrument Components

The different components of a UV/Vis spectrophotometer contribute to the overall performance of the instrument. The UV/Vis spectrophotometer consists of five basic components:

  • Light source – provides radiation of appropriate wavelength.
  • Sample compartment – Those working with low volumes of precious samples, such as DNA or protein, will benefit from investment in a micro-volume spectrophotometer, which can analyze as little as 0.5µL of sample. On the other end of the scale, some can accommodate large cuvettes – to provide lower detection limits of trace analytes - or even solid samples.
  • Monochromator – produces a beam of monochromatic light; in the conventional UV/Vis configuration, it consists of an entrance slit, collimating device, dispersing device, focusing lens or mirror, and an exit slit.
  • Detector – detects and measures the intensity of radiation.
  • Signal handling and measuring system – processes data and controls the instrument.

Figure 11 shows the components and setup of a typical array UV/Vis spectrophotometer.

Figure 11: Graphical setup of the Mettler-Toledo UV/VIS Spectrophotometers. Xenon lamp setup with CCD sensor. Source: Mettler-Toledo International.

Light Source

The light source should be stable during the measurement period. That is, the intensity of emitted radiation should not fluctuate, and there should be adequate intensity over as large a wavelength region as possible. The ideal light source would yield a constant intensity over all wavelengths, with low noise and long-term stability. Table 2 lists the light sources for UV/Vis spectrophotometers. The different sources are not equivalent; they provide light intensities and noise at different parts of the spectrum.

Table 2. List of UV/Vis light sources
Deuterium (190 – 380 nm) Tungsten-halogen (320 – 1100 nm) Xenon (190 – 1100 nm)
Most common UV source; good intensity continuum in the UV region; typical life approximately 1,000 hrs. Most common Vis radiation source; typical life approximately 2,000 hrs; relatively inexpensive. Covers the UV and visible range but higher instrumental stray light and less energy at the far visible end; ideal for general measurements, long lifetime (typically seven years).

Many UV/Vis spectrophotometers use both deuterium and tungsten-halogen lamps to cover the entire UV (deuterium lamp) and visible (tungsten-halogen lamp) spectrum. Either a source selector is used to switch between the lamps as appropriate, or the light from the two sources is mixed to yield a single broadband source. This type of setup is known as scanning. Xenon flash lamps have become more common because they cover the entire UV and visible range, have extended lifetimes, do not require warm-up time, and do not raise the temperature of the sample compartment. Light-emitting diodes (LED) are used in some instruments as low-cost solutions for simple applications as the lamp life is almost infinite. In this case, the setup is known as array.

Download this array versus scanning white paper for a comparison of these two well-established spectrophotometer setups and find out more about their individual performance.

Sample Format

Most samples analyzed by UV/Vis are in liquid or solution state. Traditional sample cells include cuvettes, sippers (an accessory which automatically fills the cells with sample solution), and microtiter plates, such as the Epoch™ 2. Micro-volume spectrophotometers, such as the Mettler-Toledo UV5Nano, use a micro-volume platform onto which the sample solution can be directly pipetted. Some instruments feature fiber-optic probes for measuring samples outside the UV/Vis spectrophotometer’s sample compartment. This allows analysis of the sample in situ, which is especially useful when it is not possible to physically remove samples, for example when monitoring industrial production lines, blood or the environment.

Another consideration is pathlength. Micro-volume spectrophotometers have a very short pathlength, normally between 0.1 to 1mm, which allows highly concentrated samples to be analyzed without the need for dilution. Figure 12 shows a diagram of the LockPath system from Mettler-Toledo, which allows micro-volume droplets of sample to be analyzed accurately.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, some instruments accommodate a very long pathlength. For example, the Spectroquant® Prove 600 can accommodate cuvettes up to 100mm, maximising sensitivity and allowing detection of analytes at trace levels.

Figure 12: LockPath system from Mettler-Toledo ensures that the available pathlengths at 0.1 or 1mm are accurately defined. The pathlengths can be automatically and manually defined according to the user’s needs. Source: Mettler-Toledo International.

TIP: If using cuvettes as sample cells, it is important to consider the cuvette material. Common materials include optical glass, quartz and sapphire. The transmission range of the material will need to match the wavelength range of your analytes; materials which have a broader transmission range, such as sapphire, come at a higher cost.

Monochromator

The ideal monochromator should produce monochromatic light. In practice, however, the output is always a band, optimally symmetrical in shape. The dispersing device in monochromators can be a prism or diffraction grating. Most modern spectrophotometers contain holographic gratings instead of prisms.

Detector

Ideally, the detector should give a linear response over a wide range, with low noise and high sensitivity. Table 3 shows the different types of detectors used in UV/Vis spectrophotometers. Photomultiplier tubes (PMT) and photodiodes are single-channel detectors, and the most commonly used in the instruments currently out in the market. Photodiodes are usually found in low-end instruments, while PMTs are used in higher-end instruments (research grade). Photodiode arrays (PDA) and charge-coupled devices (CCD) are multi-channel detectors. They allow for fast acquisition of the entire spectrum, and since they have less moving parts, are more robust. However, they are not as sensitive as PMTs.

Table 3. Various detectors for UV/Vis spectrophotometers.
Single Channel Multi-Channel/Array
Photomultiplier (PMT)
  • High sensitivity
  • Wide spectral range
  • High sensitivity
  • Quick response
Photodiode array
  • Fast acquisition of entire spectrum
  • Less moving parts
Photodiode
  • Most common
  • Compared to PMT: less expensive, less sensitive, more robust
Charge-coupled device (CCD)
  • Fast acquisition of entire spectrum
  • Less moving parts

Software & Data Management

UV/Vis software is an area which is constantly developing and expanding. Most spectrophotometers now include their own software which controls the instrument and collects, analyzes and manipulates data.

Many software packages now come with pre-programmed methods which allow users to perform routine analyses and calculate common parameters with just a few clicks. A combination of an intuitive user interface and software can make the instrument more accessible to occasional, non-expert users as well as speeding up routine analysis. For example, many instruments suited to life sciences include pre-programmed applications for nucleic acid quantification, protein and peptide quantification, kinetic assays and optical density and cell/mL calculations.

Examples include:

Many standalone instruments now come with a touchscreen user interface, making operation simple and efficient. For example, Mettler-Toledo UV/Vis Excellence spectrophotometers feature a One Click™ Operation system, which allows fast selection of pre-defined methods though a colour-screen touchscreen.

Higher-performance instruments are often designed for use with a personal computer, for example the DataStream Software from Cecil Instruments Limited.

Connectivity

Ease of data export is important for standalone instruments. Many models now come with USB and WiFi, giving you more freedom when organizing your laboratory space and making it easier to access your data. Another feature you might find useful is the ability to directly print results.

4. Considerations for Optical Configurations/Optical Design

There are several optical configurations for the UV/Vis spectrophotometers you will find in the market, shown in Table 5. The single beam configuration was the earliest design and is still in common use, especially among low-end instruments. Double beam and dual beam spectrophotometers measure the ratio of light intensities and, therefore, are not as sensitive to fluctuations in the light source or detector. Split beam resembles the dual-beam spectrophotometer but uses a beam splitter instead of a chopper and uses two separate but identical detectors.

Single beam, double beam and split beam are conventional UV/Vis spectrophotometers. In conventional systems, polychromatic light from the source is focused on the entrance slit of a monochromator, which selectively transmits a narrow band of light. This light then passes through the sample area to the detector. In multi-channel UV/Vis spectrophotometers, polychromatic light from a source passes through the sample area and is focused on the entrance slit of the polychromator, which disperses the light onto a diode array where each diode measures a narrow band of the spectrum. This diode array, known as a photodiode array detector (PDA), is typically made up of a linear array of 1024 phototubes for each different wavelength.

Table 5. Optical configurations of UV/Vis spectrophotometers.
Single Beam
Double Beam
  • Light is split into two different paths by a chopper, one detector
  • More complex optics: higher cost, good stability, lower sensitivity
  • Example: The Aquarius™ range from Cecil Instruments uses a double beam optical system to provide a fully symmetrical band, enabling high accuracy measurements.
Split Beam
  • Light is split into two different path s by a splitter, one passes through the sample; the other is used as the reference
  • More complex optics: higher cost, good stability, lower sensitivity
Multi-Channel/ Array Based
  • All wavelengths from the light source pass through the sample; light passing through the sample is dispersed by a diffraction grating; separated wavelengths fall on different pixels of the array detector.
  • Example: Cary 8454 UV-Vis Diode Array System by Agilent Technologies

Advantages of multi-channel/array-based instruments include:

  • Greater robustness – require less moving parts, so require less maintenance
  • Faster-full spectrum scan speeds – some instruments can provide full-spectrum scans in as little as 1 second.

Figure 13 illustrates the differences between the instrument component set-ups in conventional (single beam configuration is shown) and multi-channel (PDA system is shown) systems.

Figure 13: Schematic showing the difference between a conventional and PDA spectrophotometers.

5. Considerations for Performance Criteria

There are several criteria to consider when buying a new UV/Vis spectrophotometer but wavelength accuracy, wavelength reproducibility and noise levels are particularly important.

Wavelength Accuracy

Wavelength accuracy is most important when you want to compare results between different instruments. Deviation in the wavelength can cause errors in both quantitative and qualitative results. Wavelength accuracy is most commonly checked by using certified reference standards.

TIP: The level of wavelength accuracy required is dependent on your application. A typical level of wavelength accuracy for UV/Vis instruments is around ±1nm, however, some instruments achieve accuracies of ±0.5nm.

Wavelength Reproducibility

Wavelength reproducibility is the ability of the instrument to produce the same wavelength over repeat readings. This is important as it allows for accurate comparison of one reading to another, for example a sample to a blank, or one sample to another.

Noise

Noise in UV/Vis spectrophotometry mainly originates from the light source and electronic components. This can affect the accuracy at both low and high ends of the absorbance scale. Photon noise from the light source affects the accuracy of the measurements at low absorbance, while electronic noise from the components affects high-absorbance measurement accuracy. High noise levels will reduce the limit of detection and the instrument’s sensitivity.

Photometric Range (Working Absorbance Range)

For some applications, specifically those that have strongly absorbing species, it is important to consider the photometric range. A spectrophotometer that can detect transmission of 10% has a photometric range of 1A, where 1% is 2A, 0.1% is 3A. A photometric range of 3.5A to 4A means it can handle samples that absorb as much as 99.99% of incident light.

TIP: The photometric range specified for a UV/Vis spectrophotometer does not mean that it is linear over that range. Not all instruments give their specifications for linear dynamic range, though they always give the photometric range. So, if linear dynamic range is important to you, be sure to ask about it.

Figure 12: LockPath system from Mettler-Toledo ensures that the available pathlengths at 0.1 or 1mm are accurately defined. The pathlengths can be automatically and manually defined according to the user’s needs. Source: Mettler-Toledo International.

Linear Dynamic Range

This refers to the concentration range over which absorbance and concentration remain directly proportional to each other. A wide linear dynamic range permits the analysis of a wide range of sample concentrations (optical densities), and reduces sample preparation (dilution) requirements.

Photometric (Absorbance) Accuracy

Photometric accuracy is defined as how accurately an instrument measures absorbance and is determined by the difference between the measured absorbance and the established standard value. It can be considered the most important parameter for applications which involve comparison of extinction coefficients between instruments, spectral identification, and sample purity analysis.

TIP: Absolute photometric accuracy may not be critical to your application. In most quantitation applications, as long as the measurements are reproducible and linear over the wavelength range, the photometric accuracy is not critical. However, it does become a critical parameter when comparing the results over multiple instruments.

Photometric Reproducibility

The precision with which the UV/Vis instrument can make repeated measurements. It indicates how well the measured absorbance value can be reproduced.

Photometric Stability

Variations in lamp intensity and electronic outputs between the measurements of the incident radiation (Io) and transmitted radiation (I) result in instrument drifts. These changes can lead to error in the value of the measurements, especially over a long period of time. Photometric stability is the ability of the instrument to maintain a steady state over time so that the effect of the drift on the accuracy of the measurements becomes insignificant.

Stray Light

This is the unwanted radiation or wavelength of light, other than the desired wavelength, that reaches the detector. Stray light causes a decrease in absorbance and reduces the linearity range of the instrument. High absorbance measurements are more severely impacted by stray light.

Spectral Bandwidth and Resolution

Spectral bandwidth and resolution are related; the smaller the spectral bandwidth, the finer the resolution. In general, poor resolution leads to a decrease in the extinction coefficient across the spectrum and, therefore, inaccurate quantitation. The sensitivity of the measurement is also compromised. Most UV/Vis spectrophotometers provide adequate resolution for common applications. If your application requires detailed spectral information, you will require an instrument with very small bandwidth, to gain better resolution.

Baseline Flatness

For UV/Vis spectrophotometers that have dual light sources (a deuterium lamp for the UV range and a tungsten lamp for the visible range), the intensity of the radiation coming from the light sources is not constant over the whole UV/Visible range. The response of the detector also varies over the spectral range. A flat baseline demonstrates the ability of the instrument to normalize the output of the lamp and detector responses.

Wavelength Range

Range in which the instrument is capable of measuring. UV/Vis instruments typically have 190–1100nm wavelength range. However, some life sciences-specific instruments provide a narrower range, as common analytes such as dsDNA and protein all fall within the UV range (Table 6).

Table 6. Wavelength ranges of a selection of UV/Vis spectrophotometers
Instrument Wavelength range (nm)
Mettler Toledo UV/Vis Excellence line 190 – 1100
Thermo Scientific™ NanoDrop™ One UV-Vis Spectrophotometer 190 – 850
DeNovix Inc. DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer 190 – 840
Trinean DropSense96® Content Analysis Platform 230 – 750

Resolution

Resolution, or resolving power, is the main factor which determines the performance of a spectrophotometer. A low resolution will make it impossible to differentiate between absorbance peaks which are close together in wavelength, making spectral identification challenging.

Performance verification

Quality requirements for UV/Vis used in regulated industry continue to become increasingly stringent. Many manufacturers supply certified reference materials which comply with the requirements of most major pharmacopoeias. These reference materials are often designed to measure the following performance indicators:

  • Wavelength accuracy
  • Photometric accuracy
  • Stray light
  • Spectral resolution

Examples of UV/Vis reference material providers include Hellma Analytics, Merck Millipore: Certipur® reference materials and Mettler-Toledo: CertiRef™.

6. Useful Questions

In order to make the most out of your purchasing power, you should ask yourself and your colleagues the following questions before speaking to a manufacturer:

» What is your budget?

It is important to understand and work within a realistic budget.

 

» What applications will you use the instrument for?

Consider the hardware and software which will be best suited to your needs. Don’t forget to consider any future applications you may require the instrument for, or ways in which others in your laboratory may wish to use the instrument.

 

» Are you replacing an instrument?

Review with others what the advantages and limitations of the old instrument were. This will help you decide which features are essential or desirable in your next purchase.

 

» How important is speed and efficiency?

Which features or technologies would streamline your workflow and save time for users? How will the system integrate into your current workflow? Remember to take into account your future goals, such as the introduction of liquid handling robots or an increase in sample volume.

 

» What servicing and maintenance and support do you need?

Find out what type of maintenance the instrument requires and how often. Decide which type of servicing package you will require.

7. Future Trends

Although UV/Vis spectroscopy is a well-established technique, the technology continues to evolve. Since the first UV/Vis spectrophotometer in 1947, rapid advances in electronics, optics and software have paved the way for easier-to-use, more compact and flexible instruments. Manufacturers are devising innovative ways to meet specific end-user requirements, both in the hardware and software components.

Hardware

 

  • An exciting technology which is becoming more commonplace in UV/Vis spectrophotometers is photodiode array technology, which is helping to increase the speed and robustness of the instruments, ultimately leading to enhanced throughput.
  • Miniaturization is a continuing trend. Microvolume spectrophotometers are becoming more commonplace, especially in life sciences applications, and allow for accurate measurements to be performed on as little as 0.5µL of sample.
  • User interface and connectivity: Touchscreens and other user-friendly features are being seen increasingly on compact, standalone instruments, enabling easy user interaction and increased portability. Features such as WiFi and printer connectivity are allowing faster transfer of results.

 

Software

 

  • Pre-programmed and customizable methods enable non-expert users to carry out complex analyses with a single click
  • Features such as sample contaminant identification are improving the quality of data produced and helping researchers identify problems in their workflows
  • Data analysis software is continually improving and becoming more user-friendly, enabling fast and accurate interpretation of results

 

Editor's Picks

Editor ImageLois Manton-O'Byrne
Editor

UV/VIS Spectrophotometers (Mettler-Toledo International Inc.)

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4 out of 5

“This very compact instrument is ideal for accurate microvolume and cuvette measurements. The One Click user interface enables intuitive operation... ”
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Epoch™ 2 Microplate Spectrophotometer (BioTek Instruments, Inc.)

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5 out of 5

“This plate reader is easy to use and produces great data with high reliability. Great product. I would recommend it to anyone. ”
Briana Salas, UT Health Science Center San Antonio

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Lunatic (Unchained Labs)

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5 out of 5

“The DropSense96 is used for concentration measurement of both antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates at AbbVie. The plate based analysis enables high...”
Adrian Hobson, AbbVie Bioresearch Center

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LAMBDA 650 UV/Vis Spectrophotometer (PerkinElmer, Inc. )

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5 out of 5

“An upgradeable, flexible UV/Vis system. You can modify each parameter, so it is useful if you need to carry out measurements with non-routine paramete...”
David G. Calatayud, University of Bath

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DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer (DeNovix)

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5 out of 5

“Easy, sensitive, and convenient. Absolutely recommend, takes up a minimal space for a very accurate UV/VIS spectrophotometer/fluorometer... ”
Aijie Liu, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

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NanoDrop™ 2000/c Spectrophotometers (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

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4 out of 5

“For me, the best device to determine concentration of DNA, RNA or protein. You need very few materials. Very easy to use and the maintenance is minimu...”
Cécile Conrad, Institut Curie

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