Public Lab Research note

Spectrometry workshop - NY

by nicholas | March 16, 2014 20:37 16 Mar 20:37 | #10190 | #10190

What I want to do


The New York crew has been busy mapping all of the interesting areas in the city with balloons...but what about spectrometry? Members of the New York region gathered together at the Public Lab lab space in the Pifzer building to learn the tools and techniques to put into action SPECTROMETRY! The workshop lasted several hours in which members discovered the ins and out of spectrometry and discussed next steps to put it into action in the region.

My attempt and results


We began with building the DIY Foldable Paper Spectrometer, carefully folding the paper, cutting dvd squares and taping them to our mobile devices. We then began to view our spectrums on our mobile devices but discovered many challenges:

1) iOS devices do not allow you to do live capture through The work around is to use the upload form which allows you to take a picture from the camera and upload it to (this is an Apple 'feature') 2) On Android devices, Chrome defaults to using the front facing, which just doesnt work with our approach to spectrometry!!! After many attempts to solve this issue, we decided to switch browsers. Firefox gives you an option to use either the front or back facing camera but frequently crashed throughout the process. grrr...

Questions and next steps

Calibration!!! To our understanding, the built in calibration on uses only florescent light sources ,though we believe it would be very useful to calibrate with other common arbitrary known light sources(such as laser pointers). Other light sources also have very particular known spectrums. Laser pointers have very narrow and precise spectrums which is useful because you dont have to estimate the peak, it can be seen much more clearly. Lasers also come in many colors which have precise spectrums such as 671 nm(red), 532nm(green) and 405nm(blue). Lasers could also allow for multi-point calibration versus the dual-point linear calibration which currently exists.

Example calibration with lasers:





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