DIY Spectrometer

I finally decided to try to build this DIY spectrometer I had seen last month in a website []. It is very simple to build but so far hasn’t given me great results. All you need to build one of these is a card box and a CD. It can be built in 10 minutes and it looks more or less like this. The light enters through the slit and its composition is reflected by the CD.

I tried a few different lights. What is not too satisfying for the moment is that I don’t get very different compositions of light. Below is a halogen lamp.

This other one is the light of a computer screen. It’s interesting that we get some black bands which I assume are frequencies in which this source of light doesn’t emit.

The reason I’m not very satisfied with the results is because I’m not able to see clear differences in the composition of artificial light and daylight. Below is a picture of the composition of daylight. It is a slightly blurry. That might be for two reasons: a) the camera focuses on the box and not on the CD, b) the slit is too wide. I’ll try narrowing the slit.

Look for example how similar daylight looks to this incandescent bulb. Maybe it is that I don’t know enough about the spectral distribution of these different lights, but I expected daylight to have more blue than an incandescent light.

And these are two different bulbs in my room.


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  • Bio

    Olga carries practical and theoretical research in the field of media arts. She works as a co-editor with while she pursues a practice-based PhD at Goldsmiths. Her research project looks into assemblages of sunlight, human bodies and machines. She is particularly interested on subtle modes of communication across bodies of radically different nature. She looks at the ways in which electronic circuits, computational systems, endocrine processes and neurological happenings intermingle. The tools she develops are speculations about the undercurrents of body communication.
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