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Spectroscopy is a fundamental analytical tool utilized throughout all of the sciences. For chemistry and biology alone, there are thousands of applications. In the past two decades there have been monumental advances in the miniaturization of components used in spectrophotometric systems. The key components include detector arrays, laser diodes, and fiber optics. Currently, there are numerous commercially available miniature spectrometer systems as well as discrete components that are used by researchers in designing their own systems. A comprehensive summary of current instrumentation available for the design and development of miniaturized spectroscopy applications is described, including detectors, wavelength discriminating components, light sources, and sampling assemblies. Recommendations are made for designing spectrometer systems for specific applications. Current literature is reviewed for chemical and biological applications specifically using miniaturized spectrometer systems with the focus being on ultraviolet-visible-near-infrared spectrometers. The applications include laboratory applications, environmental sensing, on-site industrial analyses, botany and ecology applications, and finally clinical and biochemical studies. Additionally, microspectrometers, two-dimensional arrays, and photonics crystals are discussed in regards to their future role in chemistry and biology applications. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.