Model SPF-290AS Automated UV Transmittance / SPF Analyzer - Solarlight

Model SPF-290AS Automated UV Transmittance / SPF Analyzer

Solar Light’s versatile SPF-290AS UV Transmittance / Sunscreen Protection Factor Analyzer is an integrated turnkey desktop system for quick, efficient, and accurate UV Transmittance analysis of sunscreens, liquids, lotions, creams, sprays, gels, powders, emulsions, textiles, and more!



Solar Light’s versatile SPF-290AS UV Transmittance / Sunscreen Protection Factor Analyzer is an integrated turnkey UV spectrophotometer, designed and optimized for the determination of SPF values on a variety of sunscreen and cosmetic products, as well as materials testing. This self-contained, attractive desktop unit reduces the need and associated cost for in-vivo testing. Covering both the UVB and UVA spectral regions, the system automatically scans from 290 to 400 nm, accumulating and storing data at intervals of 1, 2, or 5nm. The monochromatic protection factor (MPF) is determined for each of the selected wavelengths, and is used to calculate the SPF value, using solar irradiance and erythemal constants that are programmed into the software (but which can be easily modified.)

The SPF-290AS is the perfect choice for quick, efficient, and accurate analysis of:

  • Liquids
  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Sprays
  • Gels
  • Powders
  • Emulsions
  • Textiles

Validation Kit Included
An SPF-290AS Validation Kit is included with each analyzer and comes complete with a Comprehensive Test Plate. The Comprehensive Test Plate contains several optical filters that are measured by the SPF-290AS, and the results are compared to NIST-traceable factory measurements. This feature is designed to provide a clear understanding and validation of how your SPF-290AS analyzer is performing against factory measurements for optical density, wavelength accuracy, and correlation to in-vivo testing whenever desired. Equipped with this tool, users will not spend time performing tests on an analyzer that is in need of repair, nor will they spend money for repairs that are not necessary. The SPF-290AS Validation Kit includes:

  • Storage case
  • 10 syringes with tips, 1 ml, disposable
  • PMMA plates, 50 x 50 mm, 5μ roughness, sample set of 3
  • Sample holder for 50 x 50 mm PMMA plates
  • Calibration Filter Plate assembly
  • 1 oz jar of Homosalate Standard
  • 1 oz jar of COLIPA Standard
  • Factory calibration data

Depending on your intended testing methods, additional boxes of two hundred PMMA plates in either 2μ roughness or 5μ roughness are available optionally. We also offer 3M™ Transpore™ tape and Transpore tape holders for performing less demanding measurement data collection.

High Correlation with In-Vivo Testing
The high correlation between the SPF-290AS in-vitro measurements and in-vivo test results provides confidence that the analyzer will be a reliable guide to product performance. The SPF-290AS delivers reliable results on the most difficult samples. An easy-to-use testing methodology, combined with reproducible results, opens the door to efficient and low cost experimental design techniques for formulation optimization. This will result in faster formulation and lower development costs due to a reduction in the need for extensive in-vivo panel studies.

Korea Food & Drug Administration Qualify the SPF-290S as an Alternative Method to in-vivo Testing
The results of this study for correlation between the in-vivo SPF and in-vitro SPF measured using SPF-290 analyzer are…..The in vitro SPF test method will be used as an alternative method for in vivo SPF and a new test item for quality control sunscreens.
– Drug Evaluation Department, Korea Food & Drug Administration, 5 Nokbun-dong, Eunpyung-gu, Seoul, Korea

The Complete SPF-290AS SPF Analyzer / UV Transmittance Analyzer and Computer Includes:

  • Motorized and automated X-Y sample stage and control module for Hit-and-Forget measurements of up to 12 discrete sample positions
  • 175W CW Xenon Source
  • Color Compensating Filter
  • PMT Detection Module – The photomultiplier provides extremely high sensitivity and ultra-fast response. Photomultiplier tubes (PMT) have high bandwidth and noise-free gain on the order of a million. This makes PMTs ideal for the detection of extremely low light levels as required in SPF measurements.
  • Precision scanning monochromator with stepping motor and controller
  • Computer hardware and software as described above
  • Box of 25 syringes with tips (1 ml disposable)
  • Validation kit
  • Factory calibration data
  • Complete instruction manual
  • Audio/ Visual training
  • Available for use with 100 VAC / 50 Hz, 110 VAC / 60 Hz, or 220 VAC / 50 Hz. Specify at time of order.
    This unit is relied upon in the most prestigious commercial research laboratories in the world, including Avon, BASF, Clairol, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Good Housekeeping, ISP, Johnson & Johnson, Lever Bros, L’Oreal, Mary Kay, Merck, Revlon, Rohm & Haas, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Andrew Jergens, Helene Curtis, Whitehall Robins, Bayer, S.C. Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Tanning Research, Pfizer, Boots the Chemist, UK Ltd., Amway and many others!

Our state of the art single output 16S- Series Solar Simulators produce solar UV radiation in the 290-400nm range, and can be quickly and easily configured by the user to provide UVA only, UVB only, UVA+B, or full spectrum sunlight optionally.

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0.4” (1 cm)

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Vertical Downward, Vertical Upward, or Horizontal (for all models - please specify at order)

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Xenon Short Arc (For All Models)

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150W (For All Models)

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±5% (For All Models)

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A (IEC 60904-9 2007)<br> A (JIS C 8912)<br> A (ASTM E927 - 05)

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< ±2% rms

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B (IEC 60904-9 2007)<br> B (JIS C 8912)<br> B (ASTM E927 - 05)

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3” (7.6 cm)

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Near Zero

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Factory Set Limit is 150 watts max

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32°F to 95°F / 0°C to 35°C

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-4°F to 185°F / -20°C to +85°C

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0 to 95% non-condensing

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Forced air

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EN61010-1 Laboratory, EN60335 Appliances, IEC60601-1 Medical

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EN55011 Emissions, IEC60601-1-2:2001, 2nd Rev 2 Medical, IEC61000-3-2 Harmonic, IEC61000-3-3 Flicker, IEC61000-4-2 ESD, IEC61000-4-3 Radiated, IEC61000-4-4 EFT, IEC61000-4-5 Surge, IEC61000-4-6 Conducted, IEC61000-4-11 Voltage Dip, IEC61000-4-8 Magnetic Field

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290 – 400 nm (range specified by international methods)

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0.2% (0.58 nm – 0.80 nm)

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0.25 nm

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1.66 nm

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0 – 3.2 A (Dual Doped PMMA Method)

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1 – 50+

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As little as 24 seconds

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1 nm, 2 nm, or 5 nm. User selectable.

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Power stabilized Xenon 150W, 100% Ozone Free

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High Sensitivity Multialkali side-on PMT

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Automated X-Y Stage

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110VAC-220VAC, 50/60 Hz

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Model SPF-290AS Automated UV Transmittance / SPF Analyzer

Fully Automated Multi-Point Sampling – Saves Time and Money!

While other analyzers are limited to single position measurements, requiring the operator to manually reposition the sample for each measurement position, the SPF-290AS enables simple push button Hit and Forget Automated Sequencing of up to 12 sampling positions such as required in the COLIPA methods. With Hit-and-Forget Automated Sequencing, this time saving feature lets the operator walk away from the analyzer and work on other tasks while the SPF-290AS completes the methods’ required multiple position measurement routine automatically.


Two modes of automated operation:

Data can be acquired in approximately 20 seconds. Results displayed in easy to read format.


Autoscan mode offers two methods of choosing up to 12 sampling locations. The operator can either specify the positions to be read or the computer can generate them randomly. Once set, the operation, data collection and reporting are performed automatically. The stage moves the sample on the holder into the light beam, takes the measurements, moves to the next position and continues until all the measurements have been completed.

Automated “Hit and Forget” operation:

  • Improves repeatability and accuracy of measurements
  • Eliminates the need to manually reposition the sample for each measurement and allows operators to perform other functions
  • Enables time based photo-stability measurements
  • Get to market sooner
  • Reduces the cost of testing
  • New sample pattern for PMMA plates



Time-based measurements monitor the SPF values for a sample at a user-specified position against time. The effects of drying and exposure to air and light on a sample can be easily evaluated making it particularly suitable for photostability testing. The system’s computer provides a controlled repeatable time base for measurements.

Easy to use, and intuitive to operate, WinSPF operating software allows simple access to perform a multitude of standard and custom measurement methods and reporting functions. The analyzer is delivered complete with Audio Visual Training aids, COLIPA spreadsheet, complete on-line help system, fully functional toolbar, single-step control icons, graphical and tabular data display formats and utilizes all Windows® multi-tasking features.

Thorough report routines generate essential data tracking information at the press of a button.


  • Date
  • Time
  • Operator
  • Sample ID
  • Test Parameters
  • And more

Many additional software features include:

  • Utilizes All Windows Features: Printing, Screen Capture, Etc.
  • Complete On-Line Help System
  • Fully Functional Toolbar
  • System Test and Validation
  • Switch between display formats
  • Single step control icons
  • Critical wavelength calculation
  • Calculate and print SPF values
  • Both tabular and graphical formats
  • Boots Star Rating
  • Create formulation assays of up to 36 scans
  • Display MPF and absorbance values
  • Photo-stability testing
  • Calculate area under the curve
  • UVA/UVB ratio
  • View scans individually
  • Calculates TNUV standard
  • Supports FDA UVA in-vitro test procedure
  • Computation of statistics for multiple assays

Studies have shown the critical importance of sample preparation, including accuracy of sample volume, and uniformity of sample spreading over the plate surface, as well as the affect that the different types of sample plates have on test results. Measurement results should not be compared if prepared and analyzed on non-similar PMMA plates and 3M™ Transpore™ tape.

Solar Light recommends the use of Schonberg PMMA plates for high accuracy and correlation to in-vivo testing.

NOTE: Please contact Solar Light and we will be happy to provide links to professional studies reporting on spreading methods and the revised COLIPA method discussing the importance of the newer 5 micron roughness plates being offered.

Industry recommends sample materials be deposited on a PMMA substrate in a high number of small droplets, and then evenly spread by a finger tip over the substrate. The uniformity and consistency of this process directly correlates to your results. Refer to the following table for examples.

Test Parameter COLIPA 2007 COLIPA 2011 ISO 24443
Plate Roughness Low Roughness High Roughness High Roughness
Application Amount 0.75 mg/cm2 1.3 mg/cm2 1.3 mg/cm2
Application Dosing Small droplets Small droplets Small droplets
Spreading Method Finger tip Finger tip Finger tip
Spreading Sequence 1 Quickly, without pressure Quickly, without pressure Quickly, small circular motions, with minimal pressure
Spreading Sequence 2 Rubbing into the surface, using pressure Rubbing into the surface, using pressure Alternating horizontal and vertical strokes, with moderate pressure

A common and often successful technique for applying sample material to the PMMA plate is via a simple disposable syringe.

Since measurement methods are now directing the dispensed dose by weight, these low cost applicators can be fine, though somewhat challenging in the application of equal volume of a large number of small droplets. An easy, accurate, and consistent method for uniform droplet dosing is through a precision positive displacement pipette.

Solar Light offers an optional sophisticated solution for repetitive liquid handling applications. The manual pipette hand dispensers are ideal for process acceleration and saving time on long-series pipetting. Their increased volume selection provides outstanding flexibility and exceptional support for research as well as routine tasks, and their smooth handling reduces the fatigue associated with repetitive work. Inexpensive disposable tips (replacement capillaries and pistons) easily attach to the pipette, and a built-in sensor recognizes the size of the tip, and the volume appears automatically in the display—eliminating time-consuming volume calculations and incorrect dispensing volumes.

The tips function according to the positive-displacement principle, which ensures that the correct volume is dispensed regardless of the density or viscosity of the liquid. The tips are easily replaced, eject with the push of a button, and dispose after use.


  • Easy to read: automatic disposable tip recognition with electronic volume display
  • Easy volume setting
  • 20 different dispensing volumes from 1 µL-50 ml
  • Two-year warranty

PMMA plates packaged in boxes containing 200 each are available in Low Roughness 2µm, and High Roughness 5 µm surface formats.

8-5080 Training program at Solar Light facility, per diem.Client responsible for all travel expenses.
8-5081 On-site training, per diem. Travel expenses to be borne by client.
8-5096 WinSPF v4.1 software (on CD-ROM), Operating Manual and Validation Kit.
8-5097 Upgrade to WinSPF v4.1 from any Win SPF v3.xx and Validation Kit.
8-5098 Upgrade to WinSPF v4.1 from any Win SPF v4.xx and Validation Kit.
8-5026 X-Y stage upgrade (For SPF units purchased after December 2000).


Solar Light is now offering a Comprehensive Test Plate for use with the SPF-290S and WinSPF version 4. The test plate is designed to provide the user with a clear understanding of how their SPF-290S analyzer is performing. The test plate contains several optical filters that are measured by the SPF-290S and the results are compared to NIST traceable factory measurements. Equipped with this tool, users will not spend time performing tests on an analyzer that is in need of repair nor will they spend money for repairs that are not necessary. In addition to the test plate, the Validation Kit contains Transpore® tape, syringes and two standard formulations: 8% Homosalate and the Colipa Standard.

8-5031 Transpore® Tape sample holders for use with SPF-290S systems with the X-Y Automatic sampling stage. 3 holders/package.
8-5089 PMMA plate holder for 50 x 50mm plates.
8-5028 Quartz sample plates, 10.7 cm x 10.2 cm. Two plates/package.
8-5083 Validation Kit (Contains the following: a hard carrying case, 10 syringes with tips, Set of 3 PMMA plates – 5 micron roughness, PMMA plate holder, calibration plate assembly, (2) UV inhibited PMMA test plates in fixture for compliance to ISO24443:2012 Appendix A, 1-5, 1 oz. of Homosolate Standard, and 1 oz. of Colipa Standard).
8-5087 Calibration Plate Assembly (Includes 5 separate test filters).
8-5106 (2) UV inhibited PMMA test plates in fixture for compliance to ISO24443:2012 Appendix A, 1-5.


8-5103 PMMA plates, 50 X 50 mm, 5μ roughness, box of 200
8-5016 Precision Positive Displacement Pipetter (requires tips)
8-5017 Disposable Positive Displacement Pipetter Tips. Box of 100
8-5010 Transpore® surgical tape, 75 mm x 9.1 M (3 inches x 10 yds) rolls. Four rolls/package.
8-5015 1 ml disposable plastic syringes with tips, 25 syringes/package.
8-5078 HS8 (8%) Homosalate USFDA Standard SPF4 (1 oz. jar).
8-5079 Colipa Standard SPF 14-17 (1 oz. jar).
8-5023 125W CW Xenon lamp replacement Kit. Includes Xenon lamp and color compensating filter.
8-5093 Color compensating filter, annealed UG-5.
8-5094 SPF packaging/shipping materials.

Click [HERE] to view our current list of distributors.

How well do the SPF-290AS results correlate with in-vivo results?
Our long experience and customer feedback indicates that the SPF-290S results correlate extremely well with in-vivo results. Several customers provided actual sample data which is presented in graphical format in our brochure on the support page.

Can the SPF-290S results be used instead of in-vivo testing?
For final results, not yet, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, because of the extremely good correlation with in-vivo testing results, the SPF-290S can be an enormous time and cost saver during the the product development and formulation stages.

Why is the wavelength range from 290 nm to 400 nm?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration’s monograph (Federal Register, Vol. 64, #98, FDA 21 CFR, Parts 310, 352, 700 and 740), as well as industry-recognized computational standards (see the Diffey/Robson technical presentation, A new substrate to measure sunscreen protection factors throughout the ultraviolet spectrum in the J. Soc. Cosmet. Chem., 40, 127 ‚ 133, (May/June 1989)), SPF’s are calculated on the basis of measurements taken in this specific wavelength range.

Why does Solar Light’s SPF-290S use a continuous UV source instead of a flash lamp?
Because a continuous source is required by the US Food and Drug Administration for in-vivo testing and the SPF-290S was designed to simulate in-vivo testing as closely as possible. This is further confirmed by the Diffey/Robson technical presentation where they described the SPF process as needing a light source that can supply a continuous spectral power distribution between 290 and 400 NM. Using a continuous light will create an environment more similar to in-vivo testing, as well as actual sunlight.

Can I export the SPF data to my spreadsheet or database?
Of course you can. The SPF data is stored in standard ASCII format, easily recognizable and readable by all well known and popular spreadsheet and database programs, e.g. Excel, Access, etc.

How do I spread samples?
Briefly, a substrate such as a PMMA plate, Transpore tape, VitroSkin, quartz plates or other suitable UV-transmitting media, is laid into a sample holder. A reference scan without the sunscreen applied is taken. The sunscreen cream, lotion, cosmetic is applied in small dabs or spots over a known area and then spread evenly to achieve a uniform thickness. A more detailed explanation can be found in both the WinSPF software manual and in the WinSPF’s on-line help system.

Does the SPF-290S produce measurable Ozone?
Many electronic devices produce Ozone, even in trace amounts. The ozone produced by the instrument does not appear to be within the sensitivity of any test method of which we are aware; this conclusion is based on testing performed by ILC Technology, Inc., producer of the LX150UV light source [Engineering Note 224, prepared in 1995]. We have tested this by purchasing safety badges and strips that detect ozone. We purchase them from Lab Safety Supply ( part numbers 1A-5155-6 and 1A-5154-6. Our personnel have used the badges sitting next to the SPF unit and running it for several hours at a time and the badges indicated no ozone detection. Lab Safety claims that the badges and strips are sensitive to 0.1 parts/million in a fifteen minute span so they should be extremely sensitive.

What is the Star Rating based on?
The star rating is based on the average UVA/UVB ratio. A different rating is given to a range of values as shown below.

Pre-Exposure UVA/UVB Ratio
Post-Exposure UVA/UVB Ratio 0.00 to 0.59 0.60 to 0.79 0.80 to 0.89 0.90 and over
0.00 to 0.56 No Rating No Rating No Rating No Rating
0.57 to 0.75 No Rating *** *** ***
0.76 to 0.85 No Rating *** **** ****
0.86 and over No Rating *** **** *****

SPF Application Note 1: Correlation of In-Vitro and In-Vivo SPF Testing Using the SPF-290AS™

SPF Application Note 2: Some Practical Implications of Optical Reciprocity for Spectroscopic Instrumentation

SPF Application Note 3: Increasing Productivity Through the Automation of the SPF-290AS™

SPF Application Note 4: Summation in SPF Calculations of the SPF-290AS™

SPF Application Note 5: Validation Kit for SPF-290AS™

SPF Application Note 6: FDA Ruling and the SPF-290AS

SPF Application Note 7: Sample Handling Information

SPF Application Note 8: New Features of the SPF-290AS

SPF Application Note 9: Comparison of leading SPF analyzers

SPF Application Note 10: ISO Ruling and the SPF-290AS™

SPF Application Note 11: PMMA Standard Plates for Instrument Control Purposes

S2 UVA Reference Standard

Solar Light Company offers a full selection of Pre-Analyzed and Certified Sunscreen Standards for laboratory use including P2 Certified...

S1 UVA Reference Standard

Solar Light Company offers a full selection of Pre-Analyzed and Certified Sunscreen Standards for laboratory use including P2 Certified...

Quartz Sample Plates

Solar Light Company offers quartz sample plates that are 50.0mm X 50.0mm with 10 plates in each package.

8-5016 Precision Positive Displacement Pipetter

Solar Light Company offers precision positive displacement pipetter which requires tips.

SL-05693 Light Safety Glasses

Solar Light offers safety glasses in various styles to suit research and testing environments using solar simulators.

8-5028 Quartz Sample Plates

Solar Light Company offers quartz sample plates that are 10.7 cm X 10.2 cm with 2 plates in each...

8-5017 Disposable Positive Displacement Pipetter Tips

Solar Light Company offers a box of 100 disposable positive displacement pipetter tips.

8-5015 Syringes with Tips

Solar Light Company offers disposable syringes with tips that hold up to 1 ml.

8-5031 Sample Holder for Transpore® Tape

Solar Light Company offers a sample holder for Transpore® Tape to use with X-Y stage.

8-5090 PMMA Plate Holder

Solar Light Company offers 50.3mm X 50.3mm PMMA Plate Holder.

8-5093 Color Compensating Filter

Solar Light Company offers a color compensating filter.


8-5023 125W Xenon Lamp Replacement Kit

Solar Light offers the 125W xenon lamp replacement kit for the SPF-290AS SPF Analyzer. The kit includes the Xenon...



SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY warrants that the equipment has been carefully tested, inspected and left the Factory in proper working condition, free of visible defects.  SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY warrants the equipment to be free from defects in material and workmanship, under normal use and operation, for a period of one (1) year after the date of initial operation, or demonstration; or eighteen (18) months from the date of shipment from the Factory; or whichever occurs first. The warranty is limited to the free replacement of all-defective parts and free labor during the first year of warranty.  Defective parts replaced under this warranty shall become the property of SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY. The above stated Warranty is subject to the following conditions: Equipment being installed within the United States of America, Canada, or sold by authorized SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY representatives or their agents outside the continental United States. The equipment being installed is operated and maintained in accordance with SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY’s operating instructions, maintenance instructions and specifications. Utilization of only SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY’s authorized parts and components.  The utilization of a duly authorized representative for all work performed on SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY equipment during the warranty period.  Any variation(s) to the above warranty must be in writing and mutually acceptable by SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY and the customer. The warranty shall not apply to damages resulting from errors in installation, nor shall it apply to any equipment, which has been subject to damages, alterations or misuse by the purchaser.  Parts of the equipment, which would be generally considered as expendable service items during normal use, such as fuses, lamps, detector shields, etc., are not covered under the warranty. THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES, WHICH EXTEND BEYOND THIS DESCRIPTION, AND EXPRESSLY NO IMPLIED WARRANTY OR MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  IN NO EVENT SHALL SOLAR LIGHT COMPANY BE LIABLE FOR SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANTICIPATED LOSS OF PROFITS SUFFERED BY THE PURCHASER. Extended Warranty Plans are also available.