It works by shining a specific wavelength (color) of light through the oil, then measuring the amount of light that makes it through.
You can do this experiment at home… Take a flashlight and put it behind a small glass of water, then look at the flashlight through the water. Now, start dripping dye or food coloring into the water. As more dye is added, the water gets progressively darker.
The water in this experiment is just like our oils and the dye is like the herbal compounds. The more compounds in the oil, the darker the water. Our eyeballs can only detect a limited range of colors (wavelengths). tCheck uses a wavelength of light beyond our ability to see, that can be used to determine the amount of compounds in the oil, by how dim the light becomes after passing through the oil.
Inside tCheck, the light emitter, tray, and receiver have all been calibrated. This means that the amount of light generated is always known, the thickness of the oil within the tray, and sensitivity of the detector is also always known. This consistency, along with some fancy signal processing allows tCheck to translate the dimness of the light into what we call a CBV measurement.
Why do we call it an application specific spectrometer? Because, tCheck does not try to measure anything and everything. It only measures the herbal compounds infused in oils and tinctures. Because it is not a general purpose spectrometer, it doesn’t need to make a million measurements and host a gigantic database. By doing only a single function, the electronics inside could be miniaturized.