Low price USB spectrometer for UV-Vis-NIR optical spectroscopy
Measure the spectrum of light over a wide spectral range, from 320 nm to 1050 nm
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer is a fast, reliable, and compact USB spectrometer which brings affordable UV-Vis-NIR (320 nm to 1050 nm) spectroscopy to research scientists around the world. Featuring powerful electronics, precision optics and intuitive software, the device is perfect for a range of optical experiments.
We recommend the complete optical spectroscopy bundle, which comes with everything you need to get started, but the spectrometer is also available to buy separately (including software) for a slightly lower price. Covered by our two year warranty as standard and eligible for quick and free shipping, the Ossila Optical Spectrometer is a dependable, low price solution for measuring the properties of light.
Built to simplify transmission, reflection, scattering, absorption and luminescence measurements, the spectrometer is both easy to use and fully programmable. Our free intuitive spectroscopy software allows you to quickly and easily begin taking measurements, just plug the spectrometer into a PC via the supplied USB to USB-C cable to get started. For those with existing UV-Vis-NIR optical spectroscopy setups, the spectrometer has wide compatibility with other equipment; a simple command library and internal and external triggers make it easy to fully integrate the device into your workflow.
To fully equip your lab, the spectrometer can be paired with the Ossila Broadband White Light Source and our range of spectroscopy accessories, which includes our transmission holder, cuvette holder, optical fiber, optical breadboard plate and more. For the best value, the complete optical spectroscopy bundle includes all of the above, plus a second optical fiber.
What is an optical spectrometer?
In general, a spectrometer is a device that separates spectral components of a continuous characteristic such as electromagnetism so that it can be measured. An optical spectrometer takes a beam of light and separates it into its constituent wavelengths using a dispersive element such as a grating or prism, and then measures the relative intensities of these wavelengths using an optical sensing element. Optical spectrometers work primarily in the visible light region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending into the UV and IR regions, and are used to perform optical spectroscopy.
Optical spectroscopy uses light to probe the properties of materials or structures. By studying the wavelength and intensity of light that is emitted, transmitted, reflected or absorbed by a material or structure, various properties of the sample can be determined. For example, the concentration of molecules in solution can be determined by measuring the light absorbed by the solution, or the thickness of films can be calculated by the reflected light.
Wide spectral range
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer measures the entire visible light spectrum, from the UV-A band to the near infrared (320 nm to 1050 nm). The spectrometer can therefore be used to study a wide range of material systems including photovoltaic, solar cell, OLED, biological, and 2D materials. To minimise the impact of higher diffraction grating orders on the spectra, a filter is included to partially cover the detector when performing spectroscopy in the visible range.
The Ossila Broadband White Light Source (included with the complete optical spectroscopy bundle or available to buy separately) has been designed for use with the spectrometer, outputting light over the wavelength range of 370 nm to 900 nm.
A powerful Arm cortex M4 processor works with a low-noise, high-speed 16-bit, 500 kSPS analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to provide fast and accurate operation, all powered through a 'plug-and-play' USB type-C connection. Thanks to its powerful electronics, the spectrometer is capable of transferring over 100 frames-per-second to the host computer via the USB cable when running in internal trigger mode.
Alongside the USB power and data connector, a six port I/O expansion header allows for easy integration with other 5V equipment.
Free software or interface through simple serial commands
The spectrometer system includes powerful spectroscopy software to help you start measuring quickly. Intensity, transmission/reflection and absorbance measurements are all available. Additional features include spectral averaging and accumulation, autosaving, peak detection, offset and gain adjustment, and more.
The system can be integrated with other hardware using the simple serial command interface, compatible with most programming languages. A full list of commands is included in the product manual along with a number of examples in Python to help you get started.
Precision engineered, compact enclosure
The clever design of the Ossila Optical Spectrometer closely integrates the enclosure, optical elements, and internal electronics. The result is a lightweight, compact, but powerful UV-Vis-NIR spectrometer. The high strength enclosure has excellent dimensional accuracy, providing the high precision needed for the internal optics.
The Ossila Spectrometer is compact, and capable of withstanding heavy daily use in the lab. The optional spectrometer case (pictured), included in the complete optical spectroscopy bundle and available to buy separately, also allows it to be bolted to standard optical tables or breadboard plates.
Internal and external trigger modes
Use the optical spectrometer in free-running mode, or integrate with other systems using the external trigger input. The unique rolling integration mode, which begins acquisition with a 5V rising edge on the rolling integration port and ends it when the voltage at the port returns to 0V, allows the integration time to be controlled dynamically by external trigger signals.
The spectrometer includes an output to synchronise acquisition with an external shutter, and also has two programmable general purpose output pins. In total, it features six I/O ports, including a ground port.
I have been using the Ossila Optical Spectrometer in my research to measure absorption, transmission, and reflectivity. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a cheap, fast, reliable and easy-to-use spectrometer for their optical experiments.
Kyriacos Georgiou, PhD, University of Cyprus
Included with the Ossila Optical Spectrometer
USB Spectrometer and Spectroscopy Software
USB Optical Spectrometer
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer with USB-C cable. Simply install the spectroscopy software and plug the spectrometer into a standard USB port on your computer to get started. The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has a 320 nm to 1050 nm spectral range (covering UV-A, visible, and near IR), powerful internal electronics, and measures just 78 mm x 78 mm x 38 mm. The Optical Spectrometer Complete Bundle offers the best value, but the Ossila Optical Spectrometer is available as a standalone unit with the Ossila Spectroscopy Software package for just £950.00.
Eligible for FREE worldwide shipping and covered by our two year warranty.
The Ossila Spectroscopy Software makes it easy to control the spectrometer and measure intensity, transmission/reflection, and absorption. For custom integrations, the Ossila Spectrometer can also be controlled via a number of simple serial commands. These are supported by most programming languages, and can also be sent to the device via the spectroscopy software command window.
The Ossila Spectroscopy Software is supplied on the included USB memory stick. The latest version can also be downloaded via our website at any time.
Spectroscopy Equipment (Complete Bundle Only)
Broadband White Light Source
Our USB-C powered LED Broadband White Light Source outputs light over the entire visible spectrum (360 nm - 900 nm) from a single light source. Measuring just 30 mm x 70 mm x 40 mm, our broadband white light source is considerably smaller than other light sources for spectroscopy (such as tungsten-halogen lamps) and is perfect for a wide range of optical spectroscopy studies in the visible range. Supplied with a USB cable, and covered by our two year warranty.
Included with the complete spectroscopy bundle. Available separately for £120.00.
The Spectrometer Case allows the Ossila Optical Spectrometer to be bolted to any standard metric or imperial optical table or breadboard plate. Made from a tough partly flexible rubber and precision made for a snug-fit, it also provides the spectrometer with extra protection against drops and everyday damage.
Included with the complete spectroscopy bundle. Available separately for £120.00.
Compatible with standard 10 mm path length cuvettes including our UV Quartz Cuvettes and IR Quartz Cuvettes, the Ossila Cuvette Holder includes two removable plugs at 90 degrees to the optical axis to allow for fluorescence excitation. Suitable for use in either free space or fiber coupled arrangements and fixable to metric or imperial breadboard plates and optical tables.
Included with the complete spectroscopy bundle. Available separately for £130.00.
Spectroscopy Transmission Holder
Hold rigid or flexible films and samples in place with the Ossila Spectroscopy Transmission Holder. Featuring a sprung clamp and a threaded connector for an SMA optical fiber, the transmission holder is an important part of any optical configuration that involves flat samples or films. The Spectroscopy Transmission Holder can also be used in a free space arrangement and can be fixed to either an metric or imperial optical table or breadboard plate.
Included with the complete spectroscopy bundle. Available separately for £100.00.
Two SMA Optical Fibers
Two 400 μm core, 1 meter long multimode SMA optical fibers allow for direct optical connections to be made between the Ossila Spectrometer, the Spectroscopy Transmission Holder or Cuvette Holder, and the Ossila Broadband White Light Source. Protective endcaps and a flexible steel outer sleeve prevent damage to the optical fibers, and the SMA connections make it easy to put together fiber coupled optical configurations.
Included with the complete spectroscopy bundle. Available separately for £90.00 each.
Optical Breadboard Plate
The Ossila Spectrometer (with protective case), Broadband White Light Source, Cuvette Holder, and Transmission Holder can be bolted to either metric or imperial breadboards. Our metric 150 mm x 300 mm anodized aluminium optical breadboard plate is the ideal size for small desktop configurations. The board features 55 M6 holes (a small pack of screws is provided) on a 25 mm grid. In addition, four untapped 5 mm holes in the corners allow it to be secured to a desk or workbench.
Included with the complete spectroscopy bundle. Available separately for £120.00.
Spectroscopy Equipment and Accessories
- White Light Source
- Transmission Holder
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has wide reaching applications that span multiple disciplines. It can be used for the characterisation of LEDs and lasers, (anti)reflection coating efficiency measurements, for investigations into absorbing materials, fluorescence detection, photovoltaics, and much more.
Transmission, Reflectivity, Scattering, and Absorption
Transmission, reflectivity, scattering and absorption together describe the behaviour of light that is incident on a sample. The light can either pass through without interaction, bounce back towards the source, bounce in a random direction, or transfer its energy into the sample. In many cases, it is important to know which wavelengths a material will absorb and which it will transmit, reflect, or scatter.
Transmission and reflectivity measurements have applications that range from characterising photonic structures such as dielectric stacks (often used as high-reflectivity or antireflection coatings) to process control in manufacturing. They can be used to detect changes in film thickness, density changes, and even the presence or absence of objects.
The optical absorption of materials quantifies the attenuation of a beam of light as it passes through the material. The energy of the incident photons is used to transfer electrons into higher energy states. In most optically active materials, UV and visible photons will promote electrons to higher energy electronic orbitals, while IR photons will increase the vibrational energy of the electrons. Absorption measurements, along with emission studies, can allow the internal electronic and vibrational structure of atoms and molecules to be determined and in some cases, the conformational structure of molecules and polymers inferred. They can also be used to calculate the concentration of absorbing species in a sample or monitor the progress of chemical reactions. These are critical for applications such as chemical synthesis and analysis, material discovery (e.g. for photovoltaics, LEDs, or pharmaceuticals) and quality monitoring/control. In astronomy, absorption measurements are used to identify atomic species in gases.
To take absorption and transmission measurements, light is directed towards the spectrometer and a spectrum is taken either with no sample in place, or using a reference placed in between the light source and spectrometer. For example, if the sample is in solution, a cuvette containing the pure solvent can be used as the reference. If the sample is a thin film on a substrate, a blank substrate is usually used. The reference is then replaced by the sample and another spectrum is taken. The transmission and (assuming no reflection) absorption spectra can then be calculated. Reflection can be measured by repositioning the spectrometer and using a perfect reflector, i.e. a mirror, as a reference.
Typically, the light source used for absorption and transmission measurements has a very broad spectrum. Suitable sources include deuterium or tungsten halogen lamps or an LED broadband white light source.
Scattering measurements are much less common, due in part to the difficulties in predicting and detecting where the light will scatter, but can be used to calculate the size and distribution of scattering centers within a sample. They are also useful for impurity detection/monitoring in water systems, nanoparticle characterisation and drug loading for pharmaceuticals.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer can also be used to measure the emission spectrum of materials and devices. Studying the light that is emitted by a material is a complementary technique to absorption spectroscopy, in that it probes how processes lead to the conversion of internal energy to photons, rather than the other way around.
Some materials will emit light when the sample is excited using a laser with a lower wavelength (higher energy) than the expected emission. If the sample absorbs at this particular wavelength, light may be emitted when the electrons relax back down to the ground state. This is known as photoluminescence.
There are two main types of photoluminescence, fluorescence and phosphorescence. Fluorescence is when electron spin does not change as a result of the excitation, and phosphorescence is when the spin of the electron reverses when it is excited to a higher energy level and again when it relaxes to a lower energy level. The most noticeable difference between the two is that phosphorescence often 'glows' for a period of time (seconds to hours) after the light source is removed, whereas fluorescence will generally only be visible while the light source is on.
Fluorescence and phosphorescence measurements involve first illuminating the sample with an intense beam of light, usually a laser or high-power LED tuned to a wavelength where the sample will absorb the light. Once the photon energy is transferred to the sample, it will undergo an internal redistribution which may result in heating or conformational changes. Some materials will then reemit any remaining energy in the form of photons, at a lower energy (longer wavelength) than those it absorbed.
Studying the difference between the ingoing and outgoing photon energies allows information about the electronic and vibrational states to be extracted, as well as how the fluorescent materials are interacting with their surroundings. This information can be used to complement (or as an alternative to) absorption measurements for chemical synthesis and analysis, material characterisation and discovery, quality control, and more. In addition, luminescence also has some unique applications. For example, fluorescent molecules are often used as 'tags' or 'tracers' in applications as far-ranging as understanding the processes occurring within living cells, to identifying the paths of water courses.
The sample can also be electrically excited (by either a current or an electric field) in order to produce an emission. In this case, it is referred to as electroluminescence. In other cases, luminescence may occur naturally: some chemical reactions result in excess internal energy that is emitted as light. This is often found in nature in living organisms such as fireflies, glow worms, some deep sea fish, and algae.
Optical spectroscopy is invaluable in studying all types of emitters as it allows the colour rendering index (CRI) of light sources to be calculated. This is an important factor when developing lighting for specific applications. More generally, optical spectrometers can also measure the solar spectrum and are widely used in astronomy for classifying types of stars.
Support and Articles
|Dimensions||78 mm x 78 mm x 38 mm (D x W x H)|
|Wavelength range||320 nm - 1050 nm|
|Grating blaze wavelength||500 nm|
|Resolution (FWHM)||2.5 nm
|Optical input||SMA 905 fibre or free space|
|Entrance slit width||25 um|
|Connection type||USB type-C|
|Dark noise*||< 50 counts
|Signal-to-noise ratio||> 500:1
|Detector type / pixels||CCD / 1600|
|Analog-to-digital converter||16-bit, 500 kSPS|
|Data transfer speed*||Up to 100 fps (PC dependant)|
|Stray light||< 0.2 %|
*measured at 50 us integration time
|Complete Optical Spectroscopy Bundle||£1600.00|
|Ossila Optical Spectrometer||£950.00|
|Ossila Spectroscopy Software||FREE|
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer is eligible for FREE worldwide shipping and is covered by our two year warranty as standard.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer comes with powerful spectroscopy software which makes it quick and easy to control the device and start collecting data. Take background spectra and measure intensity, transmission / reflection and absorbance measurements in just a few clicks. The spectroscopy software also features spectral averaging and accumulation, peak detection, offset and gain adjustment, and more - all via a straightforward user interface.
Software updates are provided at no extra charge and are available to download from our website.
No programming required
The Ossila Spectrometer can be controlled via the spectroscopy software. Setting up a spectroscopy experiment and taking optical measurements has never been easier. No programming knowledge required.
Intuitive and easy-to-use
The Ossila spectroscopy software has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use. Spectra workspaces allow you to take multiple spectra and view important numerical data at a glance. Common features and settings can be accessed via the quick access bar at the top of the screen.
Multiple measurement modes
The Ossila Spectrometer spectroscopy software makes it straight-forward to take measurements in five different measurement modes: intensity, intensity (background corrected), intensity (sensitivity corrected), transmission / reflection, and absorption.
Optional serial command interface
Serial commands can be sent to the spectrometer via the spectroscopy software. Alternatively, the spectrometer can be controlled via serial commands sent from most programming languages.
|Operating Systems||Windows 10|
|CPU||Dual Core 2.0 GHz|
|Available Hard Drive Space||300 MB|
|Monitor Resolution||1280 x 960|
To install the spectroscopy PC software, download the latest version from our website or insert the supplied USB memory stick into your computer and run the "Ossila-Spectrometer-Installer-vX-X-X-X.exe" file. Once installed, plug the spectrometer in via the supplied USB type-A to USB type-C cable. When launched, the software will automatically detect any Ossila Spectrometers connected to the PC.
The Ossila Spectrometer can be controlled using a simple serial command library; the device will appear as a COM port when connected to a PC. Commands can be sent via the command window in the spectroscopy software or via most programming languages. A full list of commands and example code is included in the user manual.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Ossila Optical Spectrometer can be found below. Please contact us for all other questions or inquiries.
Using the supplied optical spectroscopy software and a suitable optical set up, the Ossila Optical Spectrometer can measure transmission, reflectivity, scattering, absorption, and luminescence (including photoluminescence, fluorescence, phosphorescence, and electroluminescence) over a wavelength range of 320 nm to 1050 nm.
These methods have a wide range of applications across a number of different fields. They can be used to characterise LEDs and lasers, measure the efficiency of (anti)reflection coatings at various wavelengths, probe absorbing materials to reveal information about their atomic structures, and detect fluorescence. In photovoltaics, the Ossila Optical Spectrometer can be used to measure both the source spectrum (i.e. the solar spectrum) and the absorption spectrum of the device so that the two can be compared.
For more information on some of the many applications of optical spectroscopy, please see our spectrometer application notes. If your intended application is not listed, please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has a wavelength range of 320 nm (UV-A) to 1050 nm (NIR).
The grating blaze wavelength is a specification that applies to blazed diffraction gratings, which are commonly used in spectrometers and have a 'sawtooth' profile. In this case, the grating spacing, d, is defined by the width of each triangular 'tooth' (step) as shown below. The tilt angle of each step relative to the grating surface is known as the blaze angle, θ.
In spectrometers, blazed reflection gratings are often characterised using the "Littrow configuration". In this case, the angle of the incident light and the mth order of diffracted light are the same and are equal to θ. The wavelength of this light is known as the blaze wavelength, λ, and is the wavelength at which the grating has maximum efficiency.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has a grating blaze wavelength of 500 nm.
The resolution of a spectrometer is the minimum wavelength difference that can be resolved. In other words, if two spectral lines exist very close together, as shown below, the resolution would be the minimum separation between them that allows the system to distinguish them as two separate lines. In (a), it can be seen there is a distinct separation between the lines, which is greater than the resolution of the system. In (b), the separation is equal to the resolution, and in (c), the lines are closer together than the resolution and therefore cannot be separately distinguished.
Often spectral resolution is quoted in terms of the full-width at half maximum (FWHM) the spectrometer would measure for a truly monochromatic source. For example, this could be an atomic spectral line, such as from a mercury or argon lamp, or a narrow-linewidth laser.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has a FWHM resolution of 2.5 nm.
In a spectrometer, when photons land on a pixel of the detector, electron-hole pairs are created, with their number proportional to the number of incident photons. This charge is converted into a voltage and then a digital signal, which is displayed as a spectrum. However, electron-hole pairs can also be generated by thermal effects. These "dark" electron-hole pairs are indistinguishable from those generated by photons and so will affect the resultant spectrum. These unwanted signals are therefore known as "dark noise".
Dark noise is dependent on the integration time used and can be reduced by cooling the detector.
In order for a signal to be useful, it has to be significantly higher than the noise level. Therefore, an important property of spectrometers is the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR or S/N). This is a measure of the sensitivity of the spectrometer and compares the intensity of the signal, i.e. the spectral feature(s) you are looking at, to the intensity of the background noise.
SNR is often defined as the maximum signal height divided by the root mean square (RMS) of the noise in the background signal. It can be expressed as a ratio (e.g. 500:1) or in decibels (dB). If the ratio is greater than 1:1 (0 dB), the signal is greater than the noise.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has a signal-to-noise ratio of > 500:1.
Stray light is a measure of the light collected by the detector that is of a different wavelength to the expected value for that pixel. This occurs because pixels can only measure the intensity of the incident light and cannot distinguish wavelength. Sources of stray light include (but are not limited to) unwanted reflections or scattering from lenses, imperfect mirrors or optical components; leakage into the spectrometer from its surroundings; and re-entrant spectra.
Re-entrant spectra arise from light that is diffracted by the grating more than once. For example, light that has already been diffracted can be reflected by optical components, such as the detector or the entrance slit, back onto the diffraction grating, where it is diffracted a second time. If this light reaches the detector, it will produce an unwanted signal.
Stray light can also arise from imperfections in the diffraction grating. This can be minimised by using holographic gratings, which are fabricated using optical techniques and have a sinusoidal profile, rather than blazed gratings, which are fabricated using mechanical techniques.
The Ossila Optical Spectrometer has a stray light percentage of < 0.2 %.
Low price accessories and supplies for optical spectroscopy.
To the best of our knowledge the information provided here is accurate. However, Ossila assume no liability for the accuracy of this page. The values provided are typical at the time of manufacture and may vary over time and from batch to batch. All products are for laboratory and research and development use only, and may not be used for any other purpose including health care, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food or commercial applications.