Driven by various developments, a significant reduction in the size of optical spectrometers has been realized without sacrificing performance. This has resulted in the commercialization of a new class of low-cost, compact spectrometers, commonly referred to as miniature spectrometers. Viewed as novelty devices when first developed almost 20 years ago, they are now used for applications that were previously carried out by larger, more sophisticated, bench-mounted versions. However, limitations in spectral manipulation, data transfer speed, and multichannel measurement capabilities have limited their use for more demanding application areas.
This article will introduce the fundamental principles of miniature spectrometers and describe a “smart” design that includes an embedded microprocessor to improve signal-to-noise ratio, a significant enhancement in the speed of transferring data, and the simultaneous synchronization of up to 32 channels of data.
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