Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Keeping standards clean and measurements consistent

The importance of keeping a white standard clean cannot be understated. Our lab uses an Ocean Optics system with Spectralon white standards. After brainstorming with Nick Friedman about potential issues associated with repeated usage of white standards, under varied conditions, we decided to make a cover for our white standard that would allow calibration but not direct contact. We designed a cap with a small hole, that would allow the probe tip to come close to the standard but not touch it. In addition, we made plans for a probe tip with an inter-changable 90 or 45 degree measurement angle (you just need to flip it). Tom Koutny and I brought these ideas to our campus workshop and they generously made our first prototype in their spare time! I think they did great!

An Avantes spectrometer is shown above, but the parts fit perfectly

Our next steps will be to make another tool to set the depth for the probe inside of the probe tip after calibration. We will also investigate how the shiny aluminium may influence measurements and make minor adjustments to the placement of the thumb screw holes. After completing our tests, and adjustments, I will post detailed plans for those interested in milling or 3D printing these parts at home.

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