A spectrometer is a device that is capable of measuring certain characteristics of light. This is most often displayed as light-intensity, but can also refer to polarization and refractive qualities. A spectrometer can be used to determine the color of paint, very expensive models can even be capable of determining the material used.
What is a spectrometer
A spectrometer is a device that measures the light-spectrum and displays it in a form that is more easy to understand. This will help to determine the color of light around you. The spectrometer works with a type of light-sensor that is capable of reading light in different ranges. A regular light-sensor (photosensitive) only response to the presence of light, but doesn’t differentiate between different type of light. The spectrometer has a light-sensor that is capable of actually measuring the frequency and intensity of the light. This can then be display on the screen in an easier to understand graph.
Why use a spectrometer
The spectrometer can be used to measure the light you are working in. This will help to create a light-quality that displays a certain color in an optimal way. This will help to found visual differentiation in colors, for example when judging the quality and color of a respray. It can also be used to measure the color of paint, to determine what product might be best suited. Painters can use a spectrometer to measure the color of a panel accurately. Since color will start to fade as soon as the vehicle leaves the factory, there will always be a very slight difference between the original color and the current color. Fading, UV damage and oxidation can also play a part in this. Measuring the paintcolor can help to determine the current color, and will help in finding the best (mix of) products needed.
Benefits of a spectrometer
It is visually impossible to judge how much a color has changed. Even an experienced painter will have to find the perfect color-match by trial and error. The spectrometer can help to reduce the time spent on getting the color perfectly right. In showrooms, the spectrometer can be used to find a certain color combination that will bring out the most from a certain color. A type of white light with a low amount of Kelvin will be considered slightly warmer, which is very suitable for colors such as red, orange, purple or dark yellow (gold). While the spectrometer has its limits, a very strong one (professional lab-equipment) is even capable of measuring the materials used to create a certain color in the surface. For example, it will be capable of measuring the exact material in the paint is responsible for causes the red color. However, these are not likely to be found in the arsenal of a detailer due to the enormous costs.