It’s amazing how much we can learn about molecules and materials by shining light on them! In spectroscopy, we use light to determine a tremendous range of molecular properties, including electronic, vibrational, rotational, and electron and nuclear spin states and energies. From this information, we can often deduce a great deal of additional insight, including:
- Molecular identities – what is the sample composed of?
- Molecular conformations, geometries, and sizes
- Chemical equilibria
- Effects of liquid or solid-state surroundings on molecules
- Dynamics, including the rates of chemical reactions, interchange among different molecular conformations, relaxation of molecular excited states, photosynthetic energy transfer, protein folding, etc.