Essay Sample on Spectrometry: The Study of Light

Posted on February 25, 2011

Free sample essay on Spectrometry:
Spectrometry is the study of the light spectra, to accomplish a task like this; scientists use devices called “Spectrometers”. A spectrometer is an instrument, which is used to study the light spectrum. The atoms and molecules of all substances known to man give off a different spectrum. By analyzing the spectrum given off by different items, the substance, which the item is formed of, can be determined. There are three main types of spectrometers; they are the infrared spectrometers, the visible spectrometers, and the ultraviolet spectrometers. Each of the spectrometers of used for measuring their respective spectra’s.

The function of a spectrometer is to allow us to view, and record the pattern of the light spectrum off of different substances. Because all of the same types of atoms emit the same pattern, and different atoms emit different patterns, we can use the information gathered by the spectrometer to determine the type of atom that is being studied. How knowing the spectra of certain substances help us is because in the industry, it can be used to help to produce more efficient products. Spectrometry can tell us if there are any impurities in wood, steel, and water. Finding impurities in water is helpful in water process and cleaning plants, and can allow us to have safer water into our homes for domestic usage. Finding impurities in wood can help in the construction business, because a spectrometer can be used to find chemicals on the lumber, which in the case of a flammable chemical found, can prevent the structure build with the lumber, to burn later. In steel and other metals, the spectrometer can determine the purity, and thus the overall quality of the final product.

As mentioned in the World Book 2000 CD-ROM Encyclopedia, the typical appearance and function of a spectrometer is this. A spectrometer is an instrument, which is used to study light, so it only makes sense that it is a case, which keeps all other light out. The case allows only a small slit of light into the box, and from there a lens diffracts the light into singular, parallel rays which are them sent through a prism which separates the colours of the light, and arranges it into the spectrum. Another lens then directs one stream of light through a projection slit and allows only one colour of light to be shone through at once. A rotator inside the case is connected to a rotator outside the case, which turns the prism to allow different colours of light to be sent through the exit slit. There is a circular scale that states the angle of the prism, when the different colours are shown. Not all spectrometers use prisms, some use mirrors that have thousands of tiny grooves dug into them, to diffract the light at different angles.

The purpose of a spectrometer is to determine the spectrum from different substances. That is why it is used, as mentioned before, in many different industries to evaluate the purity of their manufactured materials. If the aforementioned industries were not enough of an example, other places where spectrometers are used are at crime scenes. During criminal investigations, spectrometers can be used to find traces of biological and chemical remains, and can be used to help identify DNA matches, and are helpful to determine causes of fires, chemical reactions, and explosions. More advanced purposes of spectrometer’s are taking readings of planets and other celestial bodies in the sky. Spectroscopes allow us to view the infrared and ultraviolet rays radiating from planets and suns in outer space, and give us more accurate readings on finding other habitable planets, or just more planets in general.

The price of a spectrometer will greatly vary; depending on the use you need it for. A small portable spectrometer can start at approximately $110 and range to about $750. A large, laboratory based spectrometer can range from $11,000 and reach upwards to skyrocket in price. And even furthermore, the spectrometer’s used in outer space, the one on the Hubble Telescope, cost multiple million and even billion dollars. The durability of the device depends on the usage and price. One can expect a laboratory spectrometer to last longer than a hand held one taken out into the field, as it may be dropped, lost, forgotten, or any other of many misfortunes. Spectrometers out in space are subject to zero gravity, no atmospheric pressure, and no erosion so this makes them more resistant to damage. On the other hand, they run the risk of being damaged in space related collisions (though it is a bit farfetched).

In the end, this is the information about spectrometers. This covers their usage, design, durability, prices, and some other random information about these devices. Now that you know all about them, don’t you want to go out and buy one for yourself?

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