Automating the quantification of color space parameters from Visible Spectrum Absorbance

Verbal communication of color is challenging, therefore mathematically-standardized color spaces are used. ColorBySpectra is software that in one click can convert large sets of absorbance data obtained from a simple spectrophotometer into color spaces: Hunter Lab, CIEL*c*h* and CIEL*a*b*. It reduces time for data collection, and sample volume and equipment needs. The software is useable on multiple platforms and would be useful in food science or other industries interested in precise color information.

The Need

There are several commonly used color spaces that quantify perceived color which include Hunter Lab, CIELab, and CIELch. To obtain these values, samples are usually presented to a colorimeter one sample at a time. Obtaining color data can be time consuming for many samples, and special equipment designed for color measurements is standard practice. Spectrophotometers that measure ligh absorption are standard lab equipment, and complex mathematical models can be used to derive color from absorbance. A plate reader spectrophotometer can simultaneously collect absorbances for 96 samples or greater, using microliters of sample on each well, allowing for greater efficiency of data collection.

The Technology

Inventors at The Ohio State University have created ColorBySpectra, a software program written in Java, which can convert the absorbance data into color spaces with just one click. This software can be utilized on both Macintosh and Windows platforms and provides the ability to determine the color values of all the samples provided by the user. Color spaces include Hunter Lab, CIEL*c*h* and CIEL*a*b*, and illuminants considered are D65, F2, and A, reproducing the light conditions of daylight, fluorescence and tungsten sources. Wavelength intervals of absorbance can be as small as 1 nm and as large as 10 nm. The software allows for scalability, as it can quickly provide results for up to several thousand quires in a few seconds. While this software has been developed for the food science industry, any companies or groups interested in evaluating product or sample color could benefit from this technology to more efficiently generate their color data from absorbance spectra.

IP: This technology is available for licensing. A free license can be obtained by any academic institution through

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