This project was part of a continuing effort to further develop the fading tester, a devise that permits assessment of the light sensitivity of a colored artifact.  In this work we have evaluated the currently available commercial fiberoptic spectrometers, which form the detector for the color change measurements performed by the tester.

Five devices were operated and compared according to key performance features such as precision, accuracy and stability of spectra and color difference measurements.  While there were slight differences in capability, they were each found to be adequate for use as detectors in the fading tester.  Two of the devices had some intrinsic limitations that added artifacts to measured spectra, and this might make them somewhat less desirable options should one choose to use them for other functions besides fading test detectors.  For use in fading tests that use illumination sources of low correlated color temperature, however, as would be done to assess color stability in environments lit with incandescent lamps, two of the devices were clearly poor performers, and either recorded inaccurate or very unstable spectra.

Finally, the software packages that were provided with the devices were evaluated and compared for their usability in fading tester applications.  In terms of its overall performance and the functionality of the controlling software, the Control Development spectrometer seems to offer overall superior performance for use as the detector in a fading tester.

This project was made possible through Grant MT-2210-9-NC-14 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).

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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119