History of ZEISS Spectroscopy

How it all started

The ongoing development of optical measuring instruments at the end of the 19th century played a key role in the increasing international success of ZEISS. In 1890 Carl Pulfrich, the inventor of stereo photogrammetry, came to Jena.

In order to advance the development of optical systems for chemical analysis, he founded the Optical Measuring Instruments division, becoming its head two years later.

After World War II and the partition of Germany, ZEISS was split up as well.

In addition to the traditional site in Jena, there was now a new firm in Oberkochen. It was not until 1952 that the Optical Measuring Instruments division was able to offer the entire pre-war product line again. Initially, the range of optical metrology instruments was offered both in Jena and Oberkochen. In 1994, after reunification of the two companies, large parts of the Optical Metrology division were sold. The remaining department specialized primarily in process analytics.


Chemical analytical technology boasts over 140 years of innovation and development history at ZEISS. With the first Abbe refractometer in 1874 and the Pulfrich refractor in 1895, ZEISS laid the foundation for materials analysis. Over the course of the years, ZEISS has sharpened its focus on the field of spectroscopy, in which radiation is dispersed according to its energy.

Examples of important innovations along the way are SPEKOL and the LMA 1® laser micro-spectral analyzer in the 1960s.

Since 1985, ZEISS has revolutionized the field of spectrometry from ultraviolet light to the near-infrared range with its diode array spectrometers of the MMS, MCS, and PGS families