Spectroscopic investigations have led to an astounding amount of insight into the nature of the universe. Astronomers, for example, have been able to determine the chemical composition of stars. Since all matter is composed of atoms, any technique that studies the way atoms absorb and emit electromagnetic radiation is bound to provide plenty of fundamental information.

A general course in spectroscopy will try to provide an overview of the more common spectroscopic techniques by discussing, based on the instructor's preferences, some of the following topics:

  • General aspects of instrumentation in spectroscopy
  • Analytical spectroscopy
  • Atomic absorption
  • Flame photometry or atomic emission spectroscopy
  • Emission spectroscopy
  • Electron diffraction
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Photoelection spectroscopy
  • Spectrofluorimetry and spectrophosphorimetry
  • Nephelometry and turbidimetry
  • X-Ray absorption, diffraction and fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Electron microprobe
  • Masers and lasers
  • Mossbauer spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
  • Infrared absorption
  • Internal-reflectance spectroscopy
  • Raman, visible, and ultraviolet spectroscopy
  • Luminometry or chemical fluorimetry
  • Photoacoustic spectroscopy
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Electron spin resonance
  • Ferromagnetic resonance (FMR)
  • Optical activity, optical rotatory dispersion and circular dichroism
  • Refractometry
  • Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) emission
  • Atomic fluorescence
  • Chemiluminescence


The area of spectroscopy is so enormous, books and journals tend to focus on specific areas. A few examples of the journals include molecular spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, applied spectroscopy, electron spectroscopy, and biomolecular NMR. In books, you will find selections like organic structural spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and electron spin resonance spectroscopy.

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