The literal meaning of the word spectroscopy is looking into the world of spirits. It is made up of two words: Spectron, which is a Roman word that means ghost or spirit, and the Greek word Skopein, which means observe. As the world evolved, and so did people’s comprehension of everything around them, scientists reached an understanding of how the world started and how the rules of the universe are applied.
With that said, the actual meaning of the word spectroscopy is the study of how light, something intangible yet of great power, therefore resembles spirits, can reveal the characteristics of matter. This is how to simply put it. The term, though, is much broader than that.
As complicated as the term seems, learning more about it needs some basic scientific background and the will to open up your mind and be dazzled by the magic of science. Read on, and let us help you learn more about spectroscopy.
A More Thorough Definition
Spectroscopy is studying how any matter absorbs and emits light. Light is measured in the form of waves, and these waves indicate how high or low energy is. To understand spectroscopy, you need to understand more about the different forms of light.
The energy that light emits is represented in the form of colors. Light emitted is split into energy that is in the form of colors. The color (or energy) is emitted when the light is split, which is the definition of electromagnetic radiation. A simple representation of light splitting is Pink Floyd’s logo, the glass prism that shows how light goes through one side and comes out in the form of a rainbow on the other side.
Light emits various colors, but we only see 7 of these, and these are the colors of the rainbow. The other invisible colors are different rays, including UV (ultraviolet), Infrared, X-rays, and gamma-rays. Each of these energies has its own energy level that has various functions.
The study is used in various methods that depend on the field being studied and the color, or energy, that is emitted or absorbed. Spectroscopy is measured by a device called a spectrometer. Spectroscopy though has different fields, and choosing which types of Spectrometers and Spectroscopy is decided according to the field of study.
For example, biomedical spectroscopy is used in biomedical chemistry using magnetic resonance that can determine any changes in the brain chemistry that may result in different issues like tumors and depression. Another method is astronomical spectroscopy, which is concerned with studying the stars and planets and the universe outside of planet Earth.
Each of these types uses the spectrometer that shows the required analysis. In the case of biomedical spectroscopy, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) devices are used, while astronomical spectroscopy uses many types of spectrometers, for example, the telescope, and of course, various other devices that measure the spectrum and lead to the results specific to the field.
How to Learn More About It
To learn about spectroscopy, you need to understand a few basics of science. Since spectroscopy uses wavelengths of light, you need to understand what is the meaning of a wavelength. In a nutshell, the wavelength is the distance between each wave. To make it easier, look at the sea. The distance between two waves is a wavelength.
There are some factors that, based on their measurements, the level of energy can be understood. One of these factors is the frequency, which is the time between each wave. Another factor is the amplitude of the wave, which shows the wave height. One of the most important things that you need to know to learn more and understand spectroscopy is the absorption of light/energy.
We have previously spoken about how light energy is emitted. Since the study is about the emission and absorption of light, you must understand what is meant by absorption. The absorption of light is revealed through the movement of the protons, ions, and electrons inside the cell.
Cells absorb light energy to function. You may also need to learn more about cell formation, but this part is easy since you probably have at least a basic idea from science back in middle school.
It is fascinating how something that seems so simple, like a light, turns out to have a magnificent power and effect on the universe. All we see is one level of light energy, which is the colors of the rainbow. The rest is beyond our vision yet has a huge effect on our lives. Learning how powerful light can be and how many branches it is used in is absolutely mind-blowing. Spectroscopy seems to be complicated, but it’s tremendously fascinating.
Featured image: Unsplash (Greg Rakozy).