The Webb Laboratory performs research in spectroscopy and spectral imaging for chemical analysis. Development of new, often inexpensive instrumentation is the primary focus.

Solution-cathode glow discharge:

The SCGD is a low-power (~70 W), zero gas flow, small (~2 mm3) plasma useful for elemental analysis of aqueous samples. Detection is based on optical emission spectrometry. Performance is in many ways comparable to more expensive inductively coupled plasma optical emission instruments. Current research includes improving detection of toxic metals, adapting the instrument to a portable format, and removing matrix interferrents.


The cromoscope is a hybrid instrument that borrows aspects of monochromators and microscopes. It is capable of acquiring monochromatic images of microscopic samples. This capability has made it useful for spatially resolved UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy of cells and of organelles within them. Current research includes improving the optical fidelity of the instrument, adapting the cromoscope for other types of spectroscopy, and applying it to forensic problems.