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Chemistry LibreTexts

1.1 - Introduction of Spectroscopy

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  • 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.
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