Here's a basic introduction to some of the tools used every day in our laboratory.

 

Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS)

A method that combines the features of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to simultaneously separate and identify different chemicals within an essential oil or fragrance

 

Refractive Index (RI)

An instrument used for measuring the deviation of light as it passes through a given substance, given as the ration of its velocity in a vacuum to its velocity within the substance

 

Optical Rotation (OR)

Equipment used for determining the turning of the plane of linearly polarised light about the direction of motion as the light travels through certain substances. Optical rotation is considered to be positive e(+) for dextrorotatory substances (i.e. those that rotate the plane of polarisation in a clockwise direction) and negative (-) for laevorotatory substances

 

Specific Gravity (SG)

Equipment used for measuring the ratio of the density (mass of unit volume) of a substance to the density of (mass of the same unit volume) of a reference substance.

 

pH meter

An electronic instrument used for measuring the pH (acidity and alkalinity) of a liquid by using a pH probe. The pH probe measures pH as the activity of hydrogen cations surrounding a thin-walled glass bulb at its tip

 

UV/vis spectrophotometer

This is an instrument used for measuring the intensity of light passing through a sample and compares it to the intensity of light before it passes through the sample. It uses light in the visible and adjacent (near-UV and near-infrared (NIR)) ranges, which the absorption or reflectance in the visible range directly affects the perceived colour of the chemical involved