Researchers develop a low-cost setup for Hamamatsu’s micro-spectrometer

Aug. 10, 2017
At Food + Future CoLabs, researchers assembled a low-cost spectroscopy system by using open source software to integrate Hamamatsu’s C12880MA micro-spectrometer with an Arduino microcontroller.

By Gary Spingarn, Hamamatsu Corporation

Researchers at Food + Future CoLab—a collaboration among Target, design firm Ideo, and the MIT Media Lab—created an extremely inexpensive "fit for purpose" spectroscopy system with Hamamatsu’s C12880MA micro-spectrometer. This was done by using open source software to integrate the C12880MA with a low-cost Arduino microcontroller, and also by selecting inexpensive options for their sample container and light source. These components are housed in an enclosure that was fabricated with a 3D printer.

Using this low-cost system, the researchers generated spectra of various beverages and cooking oils as shown below. Their setup demonstrates that experimenters who wish to avoid cumbersome benchtop units can still make useful spectroscopic measurements on a small budget.

To read details of the low-cost setup, go to


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