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AvaSpec-SolarXM – Now IEC 60904-9 compatible!

Posted on: July 15th, 2021

Continuing its tradition of high-quality instrument manufacturing, Avantes has been working with our solar customers to identify optical configurations for this industry. We partnered with Sinton instruments, a leading company in the work of solar metrology technologies, to offer software solutions for performing the International standard IEC60904 Solar Simulator Classification.


Solar simulator characterization is easy with the AvaSpec-SolarXM spectroradiometer system. This calibrated system consists of the AvaSpec-ULS2048XL-EVO back-thinned CCD spectrometer, 2-meter fiber optic, 90-degree cosine receptor, dedicated software application, and NIST traceable calibration. The system and software are fully compliant with IEC 60905-2007 for pulsed or steady-state solar simulators providing A, B, or C classification across six spectral bands. The new AvaSpec-Solar-XM-Dual provides for coverage out to 1200 nm in conformance with the IEC 60904-2016 standard and features a dual spectrometer (dual channel) configuration of the AvaSpec-ULS2048XL-EVO.


The AvaSpec-ULS2048XL-EVO is a high-sensitivity spectrometer based on our exclusive ultra-low stray light design. The instrument’s detector provides superior UV and NIR response making it ideal for the spectral range from 300-1100 nm. The spectrometer configuration for the AvaSpec-Solar-XM provides a 2.4 nm resolution from 300-1100 nm and a range of integration times from 2 µs up to 20 seconds. The spectrometer configurations for the AvaSpec-Solar-XM-Dual provide for a range from 300-950 nm in the first channel and 900-1200 nm in the second channel. The instrument is fitted with a keyed FCPC entrance connector making it possible to connect and disconnect the fiber optic without violating the calibration for easy transport. For the AvaSpec-SolarXM-Dual both spectrometers are synchronized to ensure simultaneous spectral acquisition.

Fiber and Cosine Corrector

The fiber optic cable is designed with robustness in mind with a stainless-steel interlocking jacketing surrounding a 400-micron core high OH silica/silica fiber and FCPC connector. The small form factor 90-degree cosine corrector has a 180-degree field of view making it easy to collect light under your simulator no matter how small the illumination area. The AvaSpec-SolarXM-Dual employs a bifurcated (y cable) fiber optic to portlight evenly into each separate spectrometer channel.

Pulsed or Steady State

The AvaSpec SolarXM and AvaSpec-SolarXM-Dual are suited for pulsed or steady-state simulators. When used with a pulsed solar simulator, an external trigger (TTL– 5V) action may be supplied by the solar simulator or this trigger may be performed by the optional AvaTrigger external trigger device which provides a trigger within 300 ns of detecting a pulse. For steady-state simulators, the spectrometer and controlling software enable real-time data collection over a range of integration times.

Sinton Instruments Software

Sinton Instruments, a leading company in the world of solar metrology technologies, provides the controlling software for the AvaSpec-SolarXM/Dual. The software provided by Sinton Instruments is fully compatible with the Avantes DLL package to control the spectrometers settings including integration time, averaging, external trigger delay, merging of spectra, and is capable of supporting both pulsed or continuous wave (CW) solar simulators.

The software from Sinton Instruments also provides a reference spectrum for AM 1.5, which is loaded automatically during spectral acquisition for comparison to the acquired spectra. The software also supports both the 2007 and 2016 proposed IEC 60904 standards with A, B, C scoring provided. The software offers report and certificate printing as well as data file export. The application can determine the spectral mismatch factor between the measured and reference spectrums for a given device by uploading device quantum efficiency curves. Additionally, it supports the ability to compare measured and reference spectrums either by irradiance (as defined by the IEC standard) or by photon flux, which is more relevant for determining the impact on measured current.

AvaSpec-SolarXM System Options


Spectrometer: AvaSpec-ULS2048XL-EVO
Wavelength range: 300-1100 nm
Signal to Noise: 525:1
Calibration: Wavelength calibration, irradiance calibration to NIST traceable standard 360-1100 nm


Spectrometer: (2) AvaSpec-ULS2048XL-EVO; AvaSpec-NIR256-1.7-HSC-EVO (pulsed) or AvaSpec-NIR256-1.7-EVO (CW)
Wavelength range (Channel 1): 300-950 nm
Wavelength range (Channel 2): 900-1200 nm
Signal to Noise: : 525:1 Channel 1; 1700:1 – Channel 2
Calibration: Wavelength calibration, irradiance calibration to NIST traceable standard 300-1200 nm

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