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Title: Cuvette  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Laboratory glassware, Colorimetry (chemical method), Colorimeter (chemistry), Spectrophotometry, Instruments used in medical laboratories
Collection: Laboratory Glassware
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A quartz cuvette
A disposable, plastic cuvette.

A cuvette is a small tube of circular or square cross section, sealed at one end, made of plastic, glass, or fused quartz (for UV light) and designed to hold samples for spectroscopic experiments.[1] Disposable plastic cuvettes are often used in fast spectroscopic assays, where speed is more important than high accuracy.

Some cuvettes will be clear only on opposite sides, so that they pass a single beam of light through that pair of sides; often the unclear sides have ridges or are rough to allow easy handling. Cuvettes to be used in fluorescence spectroscopy[2] must be clear on all four sides because fluorescence is measured at a right-angle to the beam path to limit contributions from beam itself. Some cuvettes, known as tandem cuvettes, have a glass barrier that extends 2/3 up inside, so that measurements can be taken with two solutions separated, and again when they are mixed. Typically, cuvettes are 10 mm (0.39 in) across, to allow for easy calculations of coefficients of absorption.

Cuvettes to be used in circular dichroism[3] experiments should never be mechanically stressed, as the stress will induce birefringence[4] in the quartz and affect the measurements made.

Types of cuvettes

There are three different types of cuvettes commonly used; each type has different usable wavelengths at which it is completely transparent:

  • Glass, with a wavelength from 456 to 705nm (visible spectrum).
  • Plastic, with a wavelength from 380 to 780 nm (visible spectrum).
  • Fused quartz, with a wavelength below 380 nm (ultraviolet spectrum).
  • UV quartz has a usable wavelength of around 185 nm, and a matching tolerance of 1% at 220 nm.[5]
  • ES quartz has a usable wavelength range of 190 to 2,000 nm, and a matching tolerance of 1% at 200 nm.
  • IR quartz has a usable wavelength range of 220 to 3,500 nm, and a matching tolerance of 1% at 2,730 nm.


  1. ^ What is a cuvette and how is it used? Retrieved 15 August 2013
  2. ^ An Introduction to Fluorescence Spectroscopy Perkin Elmer Inc. 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2013
  3. ^ Circular Dichroism (CD) Spectroscopy Applied Photophysics Ltd., 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2013
  4. ^ Weisstein, Eric, W. "Birefringence", Wolfram Research, 1996-2007. Retrieved 15 August 2013
  5. ^ Quartz Glass: UV Quality Fused Silica Retrieved 15 August 2013
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