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Spectrometer helps dentists use curing lights

A spectroradiometrically calibrated USB4000 spectrometer from Ocean Optics is helping dentists to use curing lights more effectively to harden the white resin composites used to fill cavities.

The spectrometer is a key component of the Managing Accurate Resin Curing (MARC) system developed by Dr Richard Price and researchers at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and commercialised through BlueLight Analytics. Dr Price has used Ocean Optics equipment in his laboratory since 2002 to measure the output from dental curing lights. The results of his research have been published in 15 papers internationally.

MARC measures the useful energy a simulated resin restoration receives from a dental curing light, a procedure that is affected by the location of the tooth, the type of resin used, the output of the curing light and the accuracy of the practitioner. Too much or too little exposure of the curing light to the restoration can lessen the lifetime of the filling and potentially damage the tooth. With the MARC system, which includes a laboratory-grade NIST-referenced USB4000 spectrometer, dental researchers, educators, manufacturers and clinicians can more accurately measure the irradiance (in mW/cm2) and energy per unit area (in J/cm2) delivered by various curing lights in the hands of different dental professionals.

Slightly larger than a mobile phone, the miniature fibre optic USB4000 Spectrometer uses a 3648-element Toshiba linear CCD array detector and high speed electronics. For the MARC system, the spectrometer has been spectroradiometrically calibrated using Ocean Optics’ NIST-traceable light source (300-1,050 nm). MARC also uses the CC3-UV Cosine Corrector to collect radiation over 180º field of view. This collection device helps mitigate the effects of optical interference associated with light collection sampling geometry – for example, the distance of the light to the restoration.

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