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Now shipping! The Public Lab Desktop Spectrometry Kit includes all the parts for a compact, simple, yet powerful experimental tool -- a visible/near-infrared spectrometer, also known as a spectroscope or spectrophotometer. In less than 30 minutes of assembly, you can plug it into your computer with a USB cable and begin using the SpectralWorkbench.org software and website to collect spectra -- the "fingerprint" of a material. The kit includes:
Developed by Public Lab contributors, this open source instrument is capable of better than 3 nanometer spectral resolution and can record light from ~390 to ~900nm. Though experimental, this tool has already been used to collect spectral data on contaminated water, laundry detergent, wines, and fishtank lights. You can help to improve it and find new applications!
For a smaller, cheaper spectrometer you can fold out of black card paper and attach to your smartphone, see the Foldable Mini-Spectrometer!