UV-Vis Spec Teardown Workshop

What does one do with a working but ancient piece of technology? We chose to take it apart and see how it works! The other weekend, we held a teardown workshop to dissect and play around with the insides of an old UV-Vis Spectrophotometer. This spec was made in 1995 and while it is over 23 years old, it was surprisingly perfectly functional. We booted it up and did a couple of tests with the outer plastic cover removed. SoundBio is fortunate to have members that include a retired physicist and an electrical engineer, and both were able to walk the rest of us through what the various components did and how the machine works! It was neat to see the rainbow created by the mirrors pass over the slit through which the sample cuvette is located, allowing for a full spectrum scan. The detector on the other side captures how much light scattering occurs and calculates the absorbance of the sample after subtracting out the absorbance of the blank.


We then proceeded to take it all apart! Certain optical pieces were scavenged for future projects as well as a few other interesting parts. All the plastic and metal pieces went in the trash and the circuit boards went home with a member whose kid was looking forward to playing around with the old, large components. If you’re a member at SoundBio and want to use a UV-Vis spectrophotometer for your project, fear not! We have two newer models that are available for you to use. :)


If you’re interested in a future teardown workshop, keep your eye on our meetup page. We have a slightly broken water purifier which we recently replaced with a fully operational one, and plan to have another workshop to rip the old unit apart.