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1. (WO2007004059) SPECTROPHOTOMETER WITH LIGHT EMITTING DIODE ILLUMINATOR
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What is claimed is:

1. A spectrophotometer for characterizing a reflectance spectrum of a specimen, the spectrophotometer comprising:
an optical assembly for illuminating said specimen, the optical assembly comprising at least one light emitting diode;
a measurement head coupled to said optical assembly for collecting light reflected by said specimen;
a spectrum analyzer coupled to said measurement head for performing spectral analysis of said collected light into a plurality of spectral bands;
a reference channel for providing illumination from said optical assembly to said spectrum analyzer; and
a test channel for providing said collected light from said measurement head to said spectrum analyzer.

2. The spectrophotometer of claim 1 , wherein said at least one light emitting diode is a white light emitting diode.

3. The spectrophotometer of claim 2, wherein said at least one light emitting diode further comprises at least one of: an ultraviolet light emitting diode or an infrared light emitting diode.

4. The spectrophotometer of claim 1, wherein said optical assembly further comprises:
a fiber optic pigtail coupled to said at least one light emitting diode, said fiber optic pigtail comprising a plurality of bundles of optical fibers, each of said plurality of bundles sharing a common end and additionally having one free end that is independent of a remainder of said plurality of bundles.

5. The spectrophotometer of claim 4, wherein said plurality of bundles comprises seven bundles.

6. The spectrophotometer of claim 4, wherein said common end couples said fiber optic pigtail to said at least one light emitting diode.

7. The spectrophotometer of claim 4, wherein all but one of said plurality of bundles are coupled, at said respective free ends, to said measurement head, and said reference channel comprises a remaining one of said plurality of bundles that is coupled, at said free end, to said spectrum analyzer.

8. The spectrophotometer of claim 7, wherein said all but one of said plurality of bundles are configured to collectively provide light to illuminate said specimen.

9. The spectrophotometer of claim 7, further comprising:
a transmitting diffuser coupled to said reference channel, such that said reference channel comprises:
a first portion extending from said common end to said transmitting diffuser; and
a second portion extending from said transmitting diffuser to said spectrum analyzer.

10. The spectrophotometer of claim 9, wherein said first portion is configured to carry reference illumination.

11. The spectrophotometer of claim 9, wherein said second portion is configured to carry conditioned reference illumination.

12. The spectrophotometer of claim 1, wherein said measurement head is a diffusing sphere.

13. The spectrophotometer of claim 12, wherein said optical assembly further comprises:
at least one baffle positioned to block a direct path of light from said at least one light emitting diode to said specimen.

14. The spectrophotometer of claim 1 , wherein said at least one light emitting diode comprises a plurality of independently controllable light emitting diodes.

15. The spectrophotometer of claim 14, wherein said plurality of independently controllable light emitting diodes are configured to shape a spectral power distribution.

16. The spectrophotometer of claim 14, wherein at least one of said plurality of independently controllable light emitting diodes is configured to produce continuous illumination.

17. The spectrophotometer of claim 14, wherein at least one of said plurality of independently controllable light emitting diodes is configured to shape produce pulsed illumination.

18. The spectrophotometer of claim 1 , wherein said at least one light emitting diode comprises a chip-set array of nine light emitting diodes.

19. The spectrophotometer of claim 1 , wherein said spectrum analyzer comprises a diffraction grating.

20. A spectrophotometer for characterizing a reflectance spectrum of a specimen, the spectrophotometer comprising:
means for illuminating said specimen, said illuminating means comprising at least one light emitting diode;
means for collecting light reflected by said specimen;
means for performing spectral analysis of said collected light into a plurality of spectral bands;
means for providing illumination from said optical assembly to said spectrum analyzer; and
means for providing said collected light from said measurement head to said spectrum analyzer.