Fast, accurate quantitation and qualification of DNA, RNA, and protein

Quantify DNA, RNA, and protein samples in seconds with only 1–2 µL using Thermo Scientific NanoDrop Spectrophotometers. You can rely on the proven technology in NanoDrop instruments for accurate, fast assessments of sample concentration and purity. And by detecting and analyzing the whole spectrum, Thermo Scientific Acclaro Sample Intelligence software can find and correct contamination in your samples and even differentiate DNA from RNA.

Free trial

It’s fast, easy, and risk-free. Try a NanoDrop spectrophotometer in your lab for a week at no cost.

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For more about how NanoDrop spectrophotometers work, as well as their accuracy and simplicity, see the Resources section.

Advanced sample intelligence with Acclaro software

Acclaro Sample Intelligence Technology software (standard on NanoDrop One, NanoDrop OneC, and NanoDrop Eight spectrophotometers) analyzes absorbance across the whole UV-Vis spectrum, not just wavelengths specific to nucleic acids and proteins. It then applies powerful chemometric algorithms to find and correct for contamination in your samples. You get more reliable downstream assay results and avoid potential rework with this efficient breakthrough capability.


When the software identifies a contaminant, it notifies users with a yellow contaminant icon next to the sample. Selecting the yellow icon displays the original sample, the contaminant, and the corrected analyte spectra. A table reports the corrected concentration, so you know what contaminant is present and whether to use the sample in downstream experiments. You can proceed with confidence in the rest of your analysis.

Sample contaminant detection and identification

Acclaro Contaminant Identification uses sophisticated mathematical algorithms to identify contaminants in samples such as phenol, guanidine salts, and protein in nucleic acids. Based on the full absorbance spectrum, it quantifies the contaminant’s contribution to the total sample absorbance and calculates the true analyte concentration.

Acclaro Contaminant Identification

Acclaro software has flagged this dsDNA sample (yellow icon) because it is contaminated with phenol. The absorbance contribution from the phenol (orange) has been subtracted from the original result (total A260, blue) to obtain the true, corrected dsDNA concentration in the sample (green).

Purity ratios alone cannot give an accurate picture of sample contamination. Some common contaminants like phenol absorb at 260 nm, the same as nucleic acids. As shown in the video, phenol contamination can cause other UV-Vis instruments to overestimate nucleic acid quantity, resulting in elevated PCR Ct values due to inadequate template. Acclaro software allows NanoDrop instruments to identify and correct for a broad range of contaminants.

Next-generation quality assessment using Acclaro software

Chemometric algorithms allow NanoDrop instruments to identify and correct for specific contaminants, taking quality assessment to the next level.


Acclaro information alerts flag problem samples and deliver on-demand technical support and guided troubleshooting.

Acclaro software identifies irregularities and assists troubleshooting

Beyond identifying and correcting for contaminants, Acclaro software can help detect problems and irregularities, and provides easy access to support and troubleshooting information.

Acclaro information alerts flag problem samples and deliver on-demand technical support and guided troubleshooting.

An embedded image sensor, assisted by Acclaro digital image analysis, continuously monitors for intrinsic bubbles in the sample column, ensuring measurement integrity.

Differentiation between DNA and RNA

RNA contamination in genomic DNA preparations is a common issue in molecular biology workflows. Traditionally, UV absorbance technology cannot distinguish between DNA and RNA, since both absorb light at 260 nm. When measuring samples with traditional spectrometry, copurified RNA will artificially inflate the concentration of DNA, causing potential errors in downstream applications.


Acclaro Sample Intelligence software can use full-spectrum data to tease apart these nucleic acids and calculate corrected DNA concentrations.

NanoDrop One Spectrophotometer finds and fixes DNA/RNA contamination

This video walks viewers through a workflow of measuring nucleic acid samples, then identifying and correcting for DNA/RNA contamination with NanoDrop One UV-Vis spectrometry.

Data: Acclaro software accurately distinguishes between DNA and RNA

Acclaro software accurately calculates true DNA concentration, even in the presence of RNA contamination.

DNA and RNA were prepared from HeLa cells and mixed in varying, known concentrations. Samples were read in triplicate on a NanoDrop One Spectrophotometer running Acclaro Sample Intelligence software and on a fluorometer using a broad-range dsDNA assay kit with a fluorescent dye that specifically binds dsDNA. Results: Although direct A260 readings (blue bars) differed dramatically from true DNA concentrations (red bars), the Acclaro-corrected DNA concentrations (green bars) were quite close to the true values. In fact, in most cases the corrected values were closer than the fluorometer readings (purple bars).

Rapid time to results

One remarkable attribute of NanoDrop quantitation is how quickly results appear—within seconds after initiating a measurement on any NanoDrop spectrophotometer. In addition, with the NanoDrop Eight Spectrophotometer, you can quantify up to eight samples in less than 20 seconds, and a 96-well plate in under 6 minutes.


In addition, both the NanoDrop One and Eight Spectrophotometers offer Auto-Blank and Auto-Measure capabilities, which can further streamline your workflow. These options make it unnecessary to manually select Blank or Measure repeatedly for large batches of samples.

  • Blanking refers to measuring spectral absorbance of and adjusting sample results for the buffer in which samples are contained. With Auto-Blank on, blanking will be completed as soon as you lower the instrument arm.
  • With Auto-Measure on, sample measurement will be completed as soon as you lower the instrument arm.

“All of those … features stimulate workflow, cutting down on those small steps. Time is very important … in the lab.”

Peter Tao, Research Assistant, Ocular degeneration research

“Auto-measure makes sampling faster, easier … I try to figure out the fastest way to read samples when I’m short on time. So I’ll get one sample ready while one sample’s reading. So I can just set it up, I don’t have to click a button to set GO. I just put [the pedestal arm] back down and my next sample is ready.”

Alyssa Grantham, Research Assistant, ALS research

FDA regulatory compliance

Ensuring the integrity of scientific data is a requirement for many labs, from pharmaceutical and biotech companies to biobanks and academics working on clinical trials. Optional security tools for the NanoDrop One, OneC, and Eight microvolume spectrophotometers help your lab stay compliant with federal data regulations every step of the way.

Comply with US FDA 21 CFR Part 11

Control user account access, apply digital signatures, review audit logs as ilustrated in the figure below.


Validate your systems

Installation qualification/Operational qualification (IQ/OQ) documents and services are available to confirm that your instrument is running within manufacturer’s specifications.

Network multiple instruments

Install Security Suite or SciVault software on a central computer to control privileges and view audit logs across multiple instruments in different labs.


Streamline management

SciVault software integrates into the NanoDrop Eight user interface.


Optional security software helps enable 21 CFR Part 11 compliance

Access control helps you limit system access to authorized users. The software also includes signed electronic records and secure, computer-generated, time-stamped audit trails.

Your dependable lab partner for more than 20 years

Back in the “bad old days” BND—Before NanoDrop Spectrophotometers—quantitating nucleic acid samples was a slow and laborious process. Highly concentrated samples had to be diluted and pipetted into cuvettes for measurement. The protocols required time, expert knowledge, tedious dilutions, and complicated workflows—and were prone to errors and replicability issues.


In 2001, the NanoDrop 1000 Spectrophotometer revolutionized UV-Vis analysis, allowing for accurate quantitation of only 1–2 µL of sample without cuvettes or capillaries. Scientists could simply pipet samples directly onto the fiber-optic measurement surface of the instrument, where the fluid was secured via surface tension. Not only was this process quick and easy, but it also reduced error-prone manual dilutions.


Over the years, NanoDrop spectrophotometers have become indispensible in many labs, accumulating over 55,000 scientific citations. Based on your feedback, we have continued to innovate and evolve the technology to meet the changing needs of scientists like you. For example, Acclaro Sample Intelligence software in current models allow users not only to detect but identify and correct for contaminants, and to differentiate DNA from RNA. Software also helps labs implement the account security and electronic signature procedures needed to attain compliance with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 regulatory requirements.


Thanks for your help in making NanoDrop spectrophotometers essential to simplify the daily routine in so many labs!


Read an interview with product marketing specialist Patrick Brown on the past, present, and future of NanoDrop technology.