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The Basics of Spectroscopy
Author(s): David W. Ball
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Book Description

Spectroscopy--the study of matter using electromagnetic radiation--and its applications as a scientific tool are the focus of this tutorial. Topics covered include the interaction of light with matter, spectrometer fundamentals, quantum mechanics, selection rules, and experimental factors.

Book Details

Date Published: 1 July 2001
Pages: 142
ISBN: 9780819441041
Volume: TT49

Table of Contents
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Chapter 1. A Short History
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Matter
1.3 Light
1.4 Quantum mechanics and spectroscopy
Chapter 2. Light and Its Interactions
2.1 Properties of light waves
2.2 Interactions of light with matter
2.2.1 Reflection
2.2.2 Transmission
2.2.3 Absorption
2.2.4 Polarization
2.3 Transparent media for different spectral regions
Chapter 3. Spectrometers
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Emission and absorption spectrometers
3.3 Fourier transform spectrometers
3.4 Magnetic resonance spectrometers
3.5 Fourier transform NMR
Chapter 4. The Spectrum
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Types of spectroscopy
4.3 Units of the y axis
4.4 Units of the x axis
4.5 Typical examples
Chapter 5. The Shapes of Spectral Signals
5.1 Introduction
5.2 The heights of lines
5.3 Beer's (?) law
5.4 The widths of lines
Chapter 6. Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy
6.1 Introduction
6.2 The need for quantum mechanics
6.3 Planck's theory and Einstein's application
6.4 Bohr's model
6.5 Quantum mechanics
6.6 Perturbation theory
6.7 Application to spectroscopy
Chapter 7. Selection Rules
7.1 Introduction
7.2 "Dipole moment" selection rules
7.3 Symmetry arguments for M
7.4 Summary of selection rules
7.4.1 Electronic spectroscopy
7.4.2 Pure rotational and vibrational spectroscopy
7.4.3 Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
7.4.4 Violations, mixing types of motions
Chapter 8. Resolution and Noise
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Resolution in dispersive spectrometers
8.3 Resolution in Fourier transform spectrometers
8.4 Noise: sources
8.5 Noise: minimizing


This book is largely based on a series of essays published as "The Baseline" column in the trade periodical Spectroscopy. I am indebted to the editor of Spectroscopy, Mike MacRae, and its editorial board for granting permission to reprint and/or adapt the columns for the purpose of this book. The discussions that led to the inception of "The Baseline" were based on a growing understanding by Spectroscopy's editorial staff that readers of the magazine were suffering from a lack of basic, tutorial-style information about spectroscopy, its theories, its applications, and its techniques. Most of the readership did have some sort of technical education, but it was (a) varied, and (b) in the past. Many readers felt that they would benefit from short, simple articles that covered "how-and-why" topics in spectroscopy. And so, "The Baseline" was born.

Having participated in some of the discussions myself, I eagerly volunteered to pen the columns. Writing such a column appealed to me in several ways. First, it appealed to the teacher in me. A new classroom, a new audience, a new way to spread the word spectroscopic! Second, I recognized the truism that you learn more when you write about it. In the past 6-plus years, I have learned more from writing these columns and receiving feedback about them than I ever would from studying an instrument manual. Finally, I must confess to being a huge fan of Isaac Asimov. I learned a lot by reading (and rereading and rereading...) his essays on science et al., and I am ecstatic at the opportunity to emulate my science-writing hero. (At least in some respects.) To date, more than two dozen columns have appeared in print, most of them written by me. And to be honest, over time I wondered if there would ever be the opportunity to print a collection of the columns in book form-another emulation of my science-writing hero. With the exception of pointing out a minor error here and there (and I hope they have all been corrected for this book!), the feedback I have received from the readers has been universally positive. Several people have been in touch regularly because of the column, and I've been contacted by old friends and colleagues who, after years of separation, see my name. It's been a great thing.

In December 1999, Eugene Arthurs, Executive Director of SPIE, contacted me with the proposal to reprint the columns, properly revised, in book form. It would become part of SPIE's Tutorial Text Series. It didn't take much review of some of the already published Tutorial Texts to realize that "The Baseline" and the Tutorial Text Series are an excellent match. You are holding the end product.

Thanks to Eugene Arthurs for his interest and support. Thanks also to Sherry Steward and Mike MacRae, the editors at Spectroscopy, and all the associate and assistant editors who have helped keep "The Baseline" column going. Bradley M. Stone (San Jose State University) and another anonymous reviewer read the manuscript, corrected several minor errors, and found many mistakes that were ultimately derived from the voice-recognition software that I used to regenerate some of the earlier columns that were no longer available in electronic form. Finally, Rick Hermann and Merry Schnell at SPIE Press were my main contacts there and offered valuable advice.

The Basics of Spectroscopy is not a detailed, high-level mathematical, rigorous treatment of spectroscopy. Rather, it is an easy-reading, tutorialized treatment of some of the basic ideas of the field. (In fact, every chapter could be expanded into several books' worth of material that focused on that particular topic. A quick scan of any university library's shelves will confirm that.) The level of vernacular is not meant to sacrifice accuracy; rather, it is meant to improve comprehension, especially by readers who might not be graduate-level-trained scientists and engineers. The better that readers can grasp the basics of the topic, the better chance they have to understand the details of the topics-and those can be found in textbooks, technical articles, (sometimes) manuals, and so on. There are plenty of those in libraries and classrooms, if you really want to find them-some of them are listed as references at the ends of the chapters. Basics is a possible first step for those who want to know more about spectroscopy.

Because the book is based on a series of columns, there may be a rather unsystematic feel to the presentation of the material. While I have done my best to make for smooth transitions, the reader should keep in mind that this book is based on 1000-word essays on different topics. I have grouped similar topics together in a way that hopefully makes sense, and I've added some previously unpublished material to fill in any major gaps. Of course, not all the gaps are filled, but it is impossible to fill all of them with a book like this. Again, the reader is encouraged to consider higher-level sources, once this book whets one's appetite. The book starts with an abbreviated history of light and spectroscopy, then discusses the interaction of light with matter. Spectrometer basics are introduced next, followed by a discussion of a spectrum itself. This is followed by quantitative and qualitative aspects of a spectrum, a brief (as it must be!) discussion of quantum mechanics, selection rules, and experimental factors. The book weaves basic topics of physics and physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, and optics into one volume. I hope that, from the reader's perspective and in light of its intended scope, this book serves its purpose well.

David W. Ball
April 2001

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