Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectrophotometry is one of the leading techniques in nucleic acid and protein quantification due to its wide variety of sample measurement capabilities and broad, dynamic range. UV-Vis is a key tool for forensic scientists, microbiologists, and life scientists. This innovative technology has been implemented for genomics and proteomics research, cell biology studies, bioengineering applications and more.

Despite operating on a single principle, the functionalities of UV-Vis microvolume spectrophotometers vary dramatically between devices. The NanoDropTM One and the DS-11 Series are the two standout instruments for microvolume analysis of nucleic acids and proteins using the function of UV-Vis absorption.

This blog post will compare the performance of the NanoDropTM One and the DS-11 Series microvolume spectrophotometers in more detail.

Outlining the NanoDropTM One

The NanoDropTM One is a microvolume UV-Vis spectrophotometer. It is a common instrument for DNA characterization studies, but it is not preferably used for protein measurements. The NanoDropTM One features auto-adjusting pathlength control with an adjustment screw driven by a stepper motor. This enables the instrument to perform microvolume analysis across a pathlength range of 0.03 – 1.0 mm with a wavelength absorbance accuracy of 1 nanometer (nm).

Outlining the DS-11 Series

The DS-11 Series was developed by the DeNovix team, core members of which were previously involved with NanoDropTM Technologies Inc.—including one of the company’s founding members. The DS-11 Series was designed by DeNovix life scientists to reach new levels of performance and functionality for a standalone UV-Vis spectrophotometer. The DS-11 Series offers best-in-class sensitivity and detection limits for microvolume absorbance.

A key innovation in the development of the DS-11 Series microvolume spectrophotometer was SmartPath® technology and BridgeTesting® capabilities. These functions successfully overcome the limitations associated with alternative microvolume spectrophotometers, such as the NanoDropTM One’s measurement system. This patented technique begins wavelength analysis at a path length of 0.5mm and carries out measurements as the column is compressed to the optimal pathlength, ensuring sample column integrity. By comparison, the NanoDropTM One stretches sample columns up to 1.0mm, which can cause breakages that lead to measurement inaccuracies.

NanoDropTM One and the DS-11 Series Compared

To accurately and fairly compare these two UV-Vis microvolume spectrophotometers, a series of double-stranded DNA dilutions at various concentrations in HPLC grade water was tested using the appropriate mode on each instrument. Reference concentrations were also determined, and the performance was evaluated using nicotinic acid.

The DS-11 Series demonstrated a wider dynamic range and enhanced sensitivity over the NanoDropTM One. It also offers markedly improved flexibility and functionality for users to improve measurements of both routine and complex samples (see technical note below).

In keeping with the company’s drive to build an instrument that enhances usability and functionality for end-users, the DS-11 Series is also equipped with an optional fluorometer. This enables ultra-sensitive fluorescence quantitation to sub-picogram per microliter concentrations. The NanoDropTM One, meanwhile, is not enabled with fluorescence capabilities.

UV-Vis Spectrophotometry with DeNovix

DeNovix has developed the DS-11 Series to ensure that modern laboratories are equipped to meet today’s complex workflows with enough flexibility to match the challenges of future assays. If you would like to read the full comparison between the DS-11 Series and the NanoDropTM One microvolume spectrophotometers, we have made the full comparison sheet available online:

Otherwise, contact us directly with any more questions about UV-Vis spectrophotometry.


NanoDrop ™ and NanoDrop ™ One are registered trademarks of Thermo Fisher Scientific and its subsidiaries.