Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemistry - Biochemistry

Research Sponsor

Dr. Adam W. Smith

First Reader

Dr. Michael Konopka

Second Reader

Dr. Thomas Leeper


Spectroscopy is a widely used chemical and medical analysis tool. While spectrophotometers are commonly found in many universities and laboratories, they are not available to all high schools or laboratories in developing countries. The objective of this project was to design a high-quality, 3D-printable, iPhone-compatible spectrophotometer that uses a cell phone camera and interface to collect data. The created 3D-print file will be available to anyone with access to a 3D printer which are increasingly found in many laboratories and schools across the country. A low cost pre-printed kit will also be made for those without access to a 3D printer compared to any other commercial system. This spectrophotometer design will expand the number of people that have the capacity and ability to utilize this type instrumentation. For educational purposes, there are several protocols that can be utilized with the cell phone spectrophotometer to help students greater understand the principles of color, wavelength, light, absorbance, transmittance, and the science of spectroscopy. The cell phone spectrophotometer was compared to three widely used commercial spectrophotometers for concentration versus absorbance for a red solution. The absorptivity values are 0.687±0.002, 0.638±0.011, 0.629±0.004, and 0.436±0.023 for the Cary Spectrophotometer, Nanodrop 2000, Spectrometer 21, and SpecPhone respectively.