I'm working on my idea for my masters thesis which involves using some optical instrumentation to measure temperature. To go out and buy the industrially available instrumentation to do this project would cost more than $4,000. Yet, I have found some conference presentations and progress reports from a national laboratory who built their own equipment for less than $100. When researching this project, I honestly can not see how this instrumentation can cost more than $200. I've seen price margins like this with a lot of laboratory related products. How can manufactures justify such high costs for equipment? I know engineers and technicians are expensive, is it usually the labor thats involved which gives companies the right to charge such high prices on low volume products?