When you're measuring light and color, you've got to ensure that the information is accurate. Part of that accuracy begins with your spectrophotometer. If your spectrophotometer isn't functioning properly, you're not going to get the accuracy that you require, which can have disastrous results in a lab setting. Here are four steps you should always follow to ensure that the results you receive from your spectrophotometer are accurate every time.
Keep Your Equipment Calibrated
To make sure that your spectrophotometer provides accurate data, you've got to keep it calibrated. Allowing too much time to lapse between calibrations can result inaccurate readings. It can also make it much more difficult to achieve proper calibrations in the future. To avoid problems, you should get in the habit of calibrating your spectrophotometer to the spectrophotometer calibration standards at the start of each work day, and then once after each project. That way, you know your readings are always accurate, and you can avoid problems with future calibrations.
Start with Clean Samples
When it comes to obtaining accurate readings, they're only going to be as good as the sample you use. If you're using a dirty sample, you're not going to get the best data recovery. Not only that, but you're also going to contaminate your spectrophotometer. To make sure your results aren't tainted and that you protect your spectrophotometer, it's crucial that you begin each test with a clean sample. Store your samples in clean containers and avoid getting them dirty during the handling.
Clean Your Equipment After Each Use
Normal daily handling can leave your spectrophotometer with a greasy residue on it. Unfortunately, that greasy residue can attract dirt and dust that can damage your device. Depending on your work environment, you should clean your device at least once a week. However, if your work environment is particularly dusty, you should clean your device at least once a day. Keeping your spectrophotometer clean will prevent premature wear and tear, and will help maintain the accuracy of your test results.
Don't Overlook the Factory Service Calls
In addition to the care that you'll provide your spectrophotometer each day, you'll also need to make sure that your device receives the factory care that it requires. Those factory service calls are crucial to the performance of your spectrophotometer. Sending your spectrophotometer in for routine factory maintenance will keep your warranty in good standing, as well. If you're not sure when your device is due for factory maintenance, you should refer to the operating manuals. They'll provide you with a maintenance schedule that you can follow.