UV-visible spectroscopy

UV-Visible spectroscopy is an essential technique that is used to analyze the chemical properties of a sample based on how they interact with visible and ultraviolet light. It can be used to determine concentrations, identify unknown compounds, as well as provide information about the physical and electronic structures of organic and inorganic compounds. It is widely used for quick and accurate chemical analysis, finding use in chemical, physical, and biological assays.

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What is UV-visible spectroscopy?

UV-Visible spectroscopy (also known simply as UV-Vis) is an analytical technique that makes use of light in the visible and ultraviolet sections of the spectrum. A UV-Vis spectrophotometer works by shining light into a sample which is usually in the form of a solution, though solid-state UV-Vis is also occasionally used. The wavelength of this light is gradually varied across a range of ultraviolet and visible light, and the percentage of light which passes through the solution is monitored. From this, the amount of light absorbed/reflected can be quantified, which provides useful insight into the properties of the sample.

When a sample absorbs a certain wavelength of light, its visual appearance will usually be of the color of light on the opposite side of the spectrum. For example, a solution that very strongly absorbs blue light will typically appear orange to us. UV-Vis makes the most of this quality and gathers important data by analyzing the type of light that a sample will absorb/reflect.

What is UV-visible spectroscopy used for?

UV-Visible Spectroscopy is used to calculate various qualities based on how light will interact with a sample. For colored solutions, such as those including metal ions, UV-Vis can be used to determine concentration based on how much the absorbance deviates when compared to solutions with known concentrations. This can also be used to monitor the movement of electrons within certain substances, allowing for a better understanding of reactions that occur between metal-containing compounds.

This technique is also useful when it comes to analyzing certain organic compounds, particularly those which absorb light within the UV-Visible part of the spectrum. This can provide more information about how the electrons in these materials are spread out, and in turn how the molecule itself is structured.

In the case of both organic and inorganic compounds, UV-Visible spectroscopy is an excellent way of determining unknown compounds in a solution. The spectrum produced is representative of how the material interacts with light and can be compared to existing data for identification purposes, making this a fast and efficient technique in comparison to other types of analysis.

What are the limitations of UV-visible spectroscopy?

The primary limitation of UV-Visible spectroscopy is that it is unable to analyze compounds that do not interact with light in the UV and visible areas of the spectrum. This includes organic components that do not have a high level of electron conjugation, and certain inorganic compounds. The effectiveness of UV-Vis will depend mostly on the compound itself, and whether or not it has the correct properties to interact with UV or visible light. Furthermore, in order to determine an unknown concentration using UV-Vis, other known concentrations will usually need to be analyzed in order to produce a calibration curve as a reference. For this, several samples may need to be tested, making the process much more lengthy than the analysis itself.

Sample requirements and preparation

In most cases the sample must be dissolved in a suitable solvent before analysis; one which will successfully dissolve any solid material without producing any results itself. These samples must be in concentrations that will allow light to successfully transmit through. If the concentration is too high, then the solution will likely need further dilutions, until accurate results can be obtained.

Solid-state UV-visible spectroscopy is also occasionally used. For this, a solid sample is compacted into a disc, where the light reflected from it can be analyzed. For this, the sample must be in a powdered form, so that it can be easily analyzed by the spectrophotometer.

Need a UV-Vis spectroscopy analysis?

Measurlabs offers UV-visible spectroscopy analyses of high quality with fast results and affordable prices. If you have any questions about your sample or its suitability for the method, our experts are always happy to help. You can contact us through the form below or by emailing us at info@measurlabs.com.

Suitable sample matrices

  • Conjugated organic materials
  • Compounds that contain metals
  • Solutions of suitable concentrations
  • Powdered solid materials

Ideal uses

  • DNA & RNA analyses
  • Determining unknown conventrations
  • Identifying unknown chemicals
  • Analyzing colored solutions

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Frequently asked questions

What is UV-Vis spectroscopy used for?

UV-Visible spectroscopy is used to analyze the chemical properties of a material. It can be used to determine concentrations, identify unknown compounds, and provide information about the physical and electronic structures of organic and inorganic compounds.

What kind of samples are suitable for UV-Vis?

Solutions of suitable concentrations, conjugated organic molecules, compunds containing metals and powdered solid samples are suitable for UV-Vis analysis.

What are the limitations of UV-Vis?

UV-Visible spectroscopy is unable to analyze compounds that do not interact with light in the UV and visible areas of the spectrum. Examples of this type of materials are organic components that do not have a high level of electron conjugation and certain inorganic compounds.

What is Measurlabs?

Measurlabs offers a variety of laboratory analyses for product developers and quality managers. We perform some of the analyses in our own lab, but mostly we outsource them to carefully selected partner laboratories. This way we can send each sample to the lab that is best suited for the purpose, and offer high-quality analyses with more than a thousand different methods to our clients.

How does the service work?

When you contact us through our contact form or by email, one of our specialists will take ownership of your case and answer your query. You get an offer with all the necessary details about the analysis, and can send your samples to the indicated address. We will then take care of sending your samples to the correct laboratories and write a clear report on the results for you.

How do I send my samples?

Samples are usually delivered to our laboratory via courier. Contact us for further details before sending samples.