Spectroscopy is the study of how matter interacts with electromagnetic radiation, including light.
Different compounds, chemicals, and materials interact with light in different ways. Analytical chemists can use this knowledge to learn about a material or compound. For example, the interaction might cause electrons to become excited, molecules to vibrate, or nuclear spin orientations.
There are many kinds of spectroscopy which can be used to measure these different kinds of interactions, such as UV-Vis, infra-red, or NMR.
To learn more about different kinds of spectroscopy, take a look at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s guide.
In this zone we will meet five chemists using spectroscopy in their research. There is one scientist using lasers to watch chemical reactions, and another looking at the compounds in plants. One scientist is using molecular spectroscopy to look at diseases like cancer, another looking at different ways to use spectroscopy in analytical research, and one scientist researching ways to make plastics from plant compounds.