What is a Spectrophotometer?

- Apr 20, 2018 -

Spectrophotometers are color measurement devices used to capture and evaluate color. As part of a color control program, brand owners and designers use them to specify and communicate color, and manufacturers use them to monitor color accuracy throughout production.

Spectrophotometers can measure just about anything, including liquids, plastics, paper, metal and fabrics, and help ensure that color remains consistent from conception to delivery

The spectral reflectance curve provided by a spectrophotometer is commonly known as the color’s “fingerprint”.


Spectrophotometer Types

There are three primary types of spectrophotometers. Your selection depends on application, desired functionality, and portability. Spectrophotometers come in a range of sizes, from portable devices to large benchtop instruments.

 The most common spectrophotometer, this instrument measures light reflected at a fixed angle to the sample, usually 45˚, and can exclude gloss to most closely replicate how the human eye sees color. They are commonly used for measuring color on smooth or matte surfaces.

 

Sphere

Spherical instruments can measure light reflected at all angles to calculate color measurements that closely match what a human eye would see. They are commonly used for measuring color that has been applied to textured surfaces such as textiles, carpets and plastics, as well as shiny or mirror-like surfaces, including metallic inks, printing over foil, and other highly glossy surfaces.

 

Multi-Angle

A multi-angle instrument views the color of a sample as if it is being moved back and forth, just as you would twist a sample to see the color at various angles. Today’s multi-angle instruments are used for specially coated pigments and special effect colors with additives such as mica and pearlescents, such as nail polish and automotive coatings.

 


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