How to Calibrate a Spectrometer

Differently colored liquids can be used on a spectrometer.
••• accuracy image by Andrey Kiselev from

A light spectrometer is a device that detects changes in the way light passes through a material. It is used mostly in the scientific laboratory in both college-level courses and professional industry. Even though different types of machines have specific instructions that go with each model, all light spectrometers work the same way. Calibrating the instrument is the first step in using the spectrometer correctly.

    Turn on the spectrometer and let it warm up for at least 10 minutes.

    Change the chamber light to the desired wavelength on the spectrometer.

    Prepare a "blank." Fill the cuvette halfway with the reaction solution that does not contain the unknown sample.

    Wipe off the sides of the cuvette with a Kim-wipe. This removes any oil left from your hands and fingerprints from the side of the cuvette.

    Load the "blank" into the spectrometer chamber.

    Close the lid of the chamber and wait for the measurement to stop.

    Press the "zero" button to calibrate the spectrometer.

    Things You'll Need

    • Cuvette
    • Reaction solution
    • Kim-wipes


    • To obtain accurate results, keep the cuvette clean and wipe off the sides before placing it into the machine.


About the Author

Based out of Reno, Nev., Andrew Youngker has been writing since 2007. He writes articles for various websites, covering cooking and education. Youngker is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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