Spectroscopic analysis is based on the interaction of an atom or a molecule with electromagnetic radiation at a specific wavelength. A wealth of information is provided by spectroscopic techniques as the expanse of electromagnetic spectrum is immensely vast and it offers a multitude of different wavelengths for such interactions to the chemical spectroscopist.
The wavelengths whose potential is most exploited in study of nature of matter range from ultraviolet at the lower end to microwaves at the higher end. However, the most popular regions of the electromagnetic spectrum exploited by the spectroscopist are UV, Visible, and Infra red (near, mid and far- IR) over which majority of analytical determinations and research activities have evolved.
It would not be out of place to go into the reasons that have contributed to the popularity of spectroscopy as a science and its acceptance in almost all laboratories.
Advantages offered by Spectroscopic Techniques
Affordable cost – spectroscopic instruments in comparison to many other sophisticated analytical instruments are priced lower and are affordable by most school and college laboratories.
Easy to understand concepts and basics – understanding the basics of light absorbance and its dependence on concentration does not involve complex mathematical formulae or principles of physics. It is-easily understood by students even at school level and laboratories can easily provide practical demonstration through low priced colorimeters or filter photometers.
Speed of analysis – the required information is available in a matter of seconds as compared to minutes or even hours for some contemporary techniques.
Non-destructive – spectroscopic methods are generally non-destructive and there is virtually 100% percent recovery of sample after analysis.
Micro volume analysis – most of the methods can be easily adapted to micro volume analysis through use of micro cells when sample availability is limited.
High sensitivity – sensitivities of spectroscopic techniques are inherently high. Further combination techniques often referred to as hyphenated techniques such as GC-IR, TGA-IR have complimented the separation ability of such techniques with spectroscopic detection
Real time monitoring – manufacturing processes can be monitored in real time using spectroscopic techniques such as UV – visible and FT-IR and corrective action can be initiated without the need for sample collection and off-line analysis in the laboratories.
Spectroscopic detection has been adapted to several major techniques such as HPLC. Both single wavelength detection as well as multi-wavelength detection can provide the required results on compounds resolved by chromatographic columns.
The advantages offered by spectroscopic techniques provide solutions to most analytical problems and like chromatography spectroscopy serves as an important resource in routine as well as research applications.