Selecting a Fluorometer on Amazon.com
A fluorometer, also known as a fluorimeter, is a device for measuring fluorescence—light absorbed at one wavelength and emitted at another—to determine the presence and concentration of certain molecules in a substance. For example, it can detect whitening agents and optical brighteners found in detergents, and fluorescence-labeled nucleotides in DNA. A fluorometer usually consists of a light source that projects light onto a sample, two filters for selecting wavelengths (one for excitation and one for emission), a sample compartment for the material being tested, and a light detector. A spectrofluorometer uses monochromators, devices consisting of mirrors and diffraction gratings, rather than filters to provide greater sensitivity. Fluorometers are used to test water and plant samples for environmental monitoring, mineral samples for geologic research and mining operations, and biological samples for medical and life science research, among other applications.
Fluorometers are available with different light sources, such as xenon, mercury, or quartz-halogen lamps, lasers, and LEDs. Each source varies in the intensity and bandwidth of light it produces. Models with lamps generally emit a wider bandwidth of light, making them ideal for testing that involves multiple wavelengths such as monitoring wastewater for various substances, and often have interchangeable filtering elements to provide the wavelength needed for a particular application. A laser fluorometer offers the lowest detection limits. Some fluorometers can be connected to a computer to store and analyze test results. A cuvette is commonly used to hold samples, though compartments may be designed to accommodate microplates, mini-cell vials, and microcentrifuge tubes, and other vessels.
The most common style is a benchtop fluorometer, though there are handheld models, which are often designated for a specific use such as genetic assays, as well as industrial models for large-scale operations. Instruments vary in their testing speed and precision. Precision is more important when determining the amount of fluorescent material in a sample, but less so when producing a spectrum profile of the sample.