The Ultimate Spectroscopy Guide: 4 Things To Know

Science has made progress by leaps and bounds, but one thing that has remained the same is the necessity to study really small things. Whether that is in the case of the human body, in industrial technology, in space exploration, whatever the case may be, to find the essence of something scientists have to dive deep down into the cellular and molecular level. One of the main reasons why we have been able to advance science so much is because we now have access to much better technology that allows us to go into detail and study objects at their most fundamental level.

At the very basic level, spectroscopy is the study of how matter and light interact. However, the light spectrum is very large and there are a lot of different kinds of light (electromagnetic radiation) that can be used to test how matter responds. Similarly, there are so many things that we can test, and so many more things that we are discovering every day that need to be tested. More importantly, spectroscopy has a very direct impact on everyday life, you might think that this is something that only happens in labs, but you can find examples of it everywhere. For instance, the color matching machine that you commonly see at hardware stores that are used to get the right color of paint that you need for your home is essentially a spectroscopy machine. It’s using the same principles to color match paint. Let’s look at a few more interesting things about this science.

1.  Environmental Analysis

Say you need to check the quality of water in an area to see whether or not the water has any metal deposits, spectroscopy can help in this situation. In fact, you don’t even need to take a sample to a lab. Modern colorimetric testing can actually be done using a cell phone together with a few small input devices to help send the data to the mobiles’ processor. This is especially useful for people such as brewers who make vinegar or alcohol, and they need to check the acidity of the liquid during different phases of production. There are so many purposes that this can be used for, and the fact that it is becoming possible to do this relatively inexpensively with just a phone increases the possibilities a lot more.

2.  Astronomy

You might think that astronomy is all about spacecraft engineering and telescopes and reaching the next planet, but there is a lot more that interests people who study the broader universe. One of the biggest challenges to studying things in space, especially those that are in outer space, is distance. The fact that they are so far away means we have to use different techniques to understand those things because simply observing them through a telescope isn’t enough. That’s where we can make use of Kinematic Equations in-depth together with ideas from spectroscopy to understand objects out in space in more detail. For instance, if there is an unknown object floating through space a few million or a billion miles away, through these techniques we can find out what that object is made of and even the molecular details of the material. This will give us valuable information about where this object is going, why it is traveling the way it is traveling, where it might have originated from, and many other things.

3.  Medicine

Scientists and medical researchers didn’t always have the luxury of experimenting and researching in a controlled environment to develop solutions. In the past, and to some extent even today, most of the progress that we have made in medicine has been out of necessity. These bursts of progress happened when a serious situation such as a war or pandemic broke out, and we needed to come up with solutions to solve the problem. In fact a lot of surgical procedures were actually developed during times of war on the battlefield. Many of these solutions are still used today. Through progress in both science and technology, we developed spectroscopy, and it is one of those scientific innovations that has helped dramatically increase medical capabilities. For instance, the MRI machine that is used for brain scans is an example of a spectroscopy machine serving medicine. MRI has completely changed the way we are able to treat brain-related problems and has also changed the way in which we are able to study human anatomy.  

4.  Exploration

Even on our own planet, there are a lot of things that still haven’t been explored. One of the biggest examples is the deep sea. The immense pressure at extreme depths is so intense that it’s very difficult to create a machine or device that can explore that region. Surprisingly, small fish and other kinds of aquatic life do exist at the extreme depths, yet even with metal alloys and all kinds of technology, we are unable to create a device or a submarine that can explore that region. However, through spectroscopy, we have a solution in which we don’t need to physically go down there to learn about that environment. By staying at a much safer depth and with the aid of various spectroscopy machines, we can learn about what goes on in that part of our planet. Additionally, these spectroscopy machines are giving us the valuable information that we need in order to develop machines that can withstand the physical conditions of the deep sea. 

Overall, Spectroscopy is a kind of research and study that allows us to learn from a different angle and create better solutions. Rather than having to actually try something out that would cost money or even put people’s lives at risk through better testing, we can do these things much more efficiently and with far less risk. The driving force behind any kind of innovation or change is our ability to learn, and with techniques such as spectroscopy, we are able to decode the world around us far more effectively. Spectroscopy is impacting every aspect of human life. Whether that is researching our own planet, learning about the universe, saving human lives or even helping us create better construction solutions.