Colorimeter Vs Spectrophotometer | Difference between Colorimeter and Spectrophotometer

This page compares Colorimeter Vs Spectrophotometer and mentions difference between Colorimeter and Spectrophotometer. This instruments are used for colorimetry and spectrophotometry.


Colorimeter working principle

Following are the features of Colorimeter.
• It is a instrument which compares amount of light getting through unknown solution and amount of light getting through pure solvent.
• Concentration or thickness of the solution is measured using colorimeter.
• It determines the difference in intensity of initial light and transmitted light.
• The source light is passed through filter (to get desired frequency light) and concentrated using lens. Then this light is targeted on a sample (which is kept in cuvette). The light transmits through the sample and the transmitted light is measured by detector. As the intensity of the initial light is known, we can find the difference between intensity of initial light and intensity of transmitted light.


single beam and double beam Spectrophotometer working principle

Following are the features of Spectrophotometer.
• It is an instrument which measures amount of light absorbed by sample as a function of wavelength. It does by diffracting light beam into spectrum of wavelengths and detecting their intensities with CCD and displaying results on the detector and later on display device in the form of graph. The figure-2 depicts working of Spectrophotometer.
• It measures concentration of the solution.
• It is used for color determination in the range from 380 to 700 nm.
• It is used to identify organic compounds by determining their absorption maxima.
Refer Merits and demerits of Spectrophotometer types >> for more information.

Colorimeter Spectrophotometer
An instrument for psychophysical analysis which provides measurements that correlate with human eye-brain perception. Colorimetric data directly read and provide tristimulus values such as XYZ, L, a, b, etc. An instrument for physical analysis which provides wavelength by wavelength spectral analysis of reflecting and/or transmitting properties of objects without interpretation by human. It can indirectly calculate psychophysical information.
It consists of sensor and data processor. It consists of sensor plus data processor or computer with application software
It has a set illuminant and observer combination usually C/20 It has many available illuminant/observer combinations which can be used for calculating tristimulus data and metamerism index.
It isolates broad band of wavelengths using tristimulus absorption filter. It isolates narrow band of wavelengths using prism/grating/interference filter.
It is rugged and less complex instrument. It is more complex compare to colorimeter.
It works well for routine comparisons of similar colors and for adjustment of small color differences under constant conditions. It works well for color formulation, measurement of metamerism and variable illuminant/observer conditions.
Examples of colorimeter instruments: HunterLab D25 series, ColorTrend HT Examples of Spectrophotometer instruments: HunterLab ColorFlexes, COlorQuests, LabScans, MiniScans, SpectraProbes, UltraScans

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