The scientific method of determining what wavelengths of light (visible or otherwise) which are absorbed or emitted from a substance. Common examples of spectroscopy include Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, UV-Visible spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This information gives hints about the structure of a compound, composition of a mixture, or kinetics and thermodynamics of a reaction.

Infrared spectroscopy, of which the most common and fastest is FT-IR, can reveal information about the structure of a chemical compound.

UV-Visible spectroscopy reveals information about the electronic structure of a compound.

NMR is used extensively in determining the structure of unknown compounds such as proteins and other organic compounds.

Spectroscopy is the name for a group of analytical techniques used in chemistry to produces spectra of a chemical sample's properties. They include:

Mass Spectrometry

By ionising a sample and deflecting it through a magnetic field, a spectrum of the relative atomic masses and relative proportions of the ions in the sample can be created. This is a good tool for analysing simple compunds and determining purity, but is less capable of analysing large organic compounds, although protein mass spectrometers have been developed for sequencing proteins.

Infrared spectroscopy

This measures a sample's absorbance of infrared at over aspectrum of frequencies, from which information about the bonds in the sample, which resonate with infrared radiation, can be obtained. This is often used to analyse organic compounds, as different functional groups show up clearly on the spectrum.

Ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy

This measures the absorbtion spectrum of a sample to ultraviolet and visible light. The electron energy levels can be determined from this spectrum, as well as some of the bonding and interactions between atoms.

Nuclear magnetic resonance

This uses a strong magnetic field to cause hydrogen atoms to resonate, when excited with radio waves, producing a spectum of the frequencies of radio waves that cause the most resonance. NMR spectra can then be interpreted to find the stucture of the sample. This is possibly the most detailed way of analysing a sample and is usually used for large organic chemicals.

Spec*tros"co*py (?), n.

The use of the spectroscope; investigations made with the spectroscope.


© Webster 1913

Spec*tros"co*py (?), n.

The production and investigation of spectra; the use of the spectroscope; also, the science of spectroscopic phenomena.


© Webster 1913

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