Spectrophotometers measure light through wavelength distribution, and scientists use these instruments to measure different types of light, including visible and near-ultraviolet. Scientists wanted to obtain these measurements at a higher speed and resolution, and the double beam spectrophotometer meets this need.

Understanding Double Beam Spectrophotometers

A double beam spectrophotometer is an instrument that determines the absorption of light in liquid or gas samples in graduated cylinders. Its components are:

  • Monochromator
  • Detector
  • Light source
  • Interpreter
  • Sample holder
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This instrument is called a “double beam” spectrophotometer because it uses two beams of light:

  • Reference beam: This beam passes through the reference standard to monitor the lamp energy.
  • Sample beam: This beam passes through the sample to reflect sample absorption.

Double beam spectrophotometer diagrams show how the mechanical chopper divides the energy from the light source using a half mirror, so one beam goes to the reference side, and the other beam goes to the sample side. This format allows the reference and the sample to be read simultaneously for a real-time reference. The double beam spectrophotometer uses an infrared thermometer and photometers to measure absorbance versus wavelength to detect the color of the sample. The absorbance measurement is the ratio of the sample to the reference beams.

Application and Uses of Double Beam Spectrophotometers

Applications that require stability, flexibility and speed will benefit from using a double beam spectrophotometer instead of a single beam spectrophotometer. These instruments are used in research and clinical laboratories for:

  • DNA analysis
  • Wavelength scanning
  • Protein analysis
  • Kinetics
  • Quantitative analysis

Physicists, biologists and chemists use double beam spectrophotometers for measuring visible, near-infrared and near-ultraviolet light.

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One of the biggest benefits of a double beam spectrophotometer is that it yields fast and reproducible measurements. Many industries have strict guidelines and high standards to follow, so the reliability of the double beam spectrophotometer is crucial. Measuring the reference and sample beams simultaneously allows measurements to be taken faster.

In addition, double beam spectrophotometers do not need to be calibrated between readings. This setup reduces the likelihood of human error and increases efficiency, so the double beam spectrophotometer is much easier to operate.

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