Absorption Spectrum

The collection of wavelengths missing from a continuous distribution of wavelengths. Caused by the absorption of certain wavelengths by the atoms or molecules in a gas.

Absorption spectra are unique for each element and compound and they are often used as chemical fingerprints in analytical chemistry. The spectrum can represented by a plot of either absorbance or transmittance versus wavelength, frequency, or wavenumber.

It was unrecognised absorption lines in interstellar spectra that were identified as due to a previously unknown allotrope of carbon. This spherical shell molecule of 60 atoms was named Buckminster Fullerine and later found on Earth.

See also: Absorption Lines, Absorption Spectroscopy, Atom, Molecule, Spectrum.

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Subjects: Chemistry Physics