Is Your Spectrophotometer’s Environment Interfering with Your Measurements?


Datacolor Ebook: Fundamentals of Color

While not ideal, you could probably do your job on three hours of sleep. But for most of us, those three hours of shuteye won’t lead to the most productive work day ever.


The same is true when it comes to spectrophotometers and environmental conditions. If you put your color measurement device into any room and set it up according to the required technical specifications, you’re going to get a machine that functions reliably. Those specifications include:


  1. 110 to 230/240 VAC
  2. ± 6% noise
  3. Spike free
  4. Stabilized “PC Class” main power supply


However, the measurements you get probably won’t be as accurate as they could be. And they may differ from the measurements of your spectrophotometers in other rooms—or in other locations. (For more on measurement variations among different instruments, read our post on Inter-Instrument Agreement here).


That’s where environmental specifications come in. When considering whether your spectrophotometer is really giving you everything you expect it to, it’s important to consider:


      • Temperature: Is the temperature of the room where you keep your spectrophotometer(s) between 21 and 25ºC and stable? If the temperature of your room varies even four degrees, measuring the same sample on the same instrument may result in a 0.4 dE—which is 1.75 times the dE variation your instrument is capable of achieving.
      • Sun Exposure: Is your device away from direct sunlight? Even in a temperature-controlled room, sunlight can heat up the instrument and lead to inaccurate measurements.




Where to put Spectrophotometer
Be sure your spectrophotometer is away from any windows



    • Humidity: Is the room’s humidity between 20 and 85% (non-condensing)? This will also impact the color of your samples.
    • Contaminants: Is the air contaminated by chemical vapors or do operators smoke while using the instruments? Both of these can drastically reduce the operational life of the sphere and gradually reduce the long-term accuracy of your instrument.






Spectrophotometer best practices
Keep your spectrophotometer away from any contaminants that can reduce the operational life of the sphere


If you follow each of these technical and environmental specifications for setting up your spectrophotometer, your device(s) will repay you with more accurate measurements and a longer life.


If you ever have questions about proper setup or anything else related to getting the most out of your spectrophotometer, don’t hesitate to send us a note at



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