Typical applications for cuvettes are spectroscopic experiments. They can be constructed of plastic, glass or fused quartz and are designed to allow the free passage of a light beam without interference.
Cuvettes come in different sizes, and the appropriate one depends on the spectrophotometer used as well as the application. Standard sizes are 45 x 12.5 x 12.5 mm or 25 x 12.5 x 12.5 mm (H x W x D). For easy calculations of absorption coefficients, the typical path length is 10 mm, but different lengths are available too.
Choosing the right material is crucial to the success of your experiment. Disposable plastic cuvettes are the cheapest type, but they are not as optically transparent as quartz or glass cuvettes. Glass cuvettes can be reused and are suited for applications with wavelengths in the visible light range. Because glass and plastic may absorb wavelengths under 400 nm, a cuvette made of quartz should be used for spectroscopic experiments involving UV light.
Experimental Applications of Cuvettes
The spectral range is necessary to consider when choosing the correct cuvette; select a cuvette with a spectral range that is suitable for the wavelength used in your experiment.
For fluorescence spectroscopy, it is necessary to use cuvettes which are transparent on all sides.
Electroporation, which can be ten times more effective than chemical transfection, is often carried out in cuvettes. These particular cuvettes come equipped with two electrodes on opposite sides. The gap between the electrodes ranges between 1 to 4 mm with average filling volumes of 100 to 800 µL.
Specialty cuvettes also exist; e.g., dual-well cuvettes with separated compartments can measure two solutions side-by-side from one another.