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The main aims of the Spectroscopy Lab are to observe the behavior of light, more exactly the spectral light
of certain elements (Hg, Ne, He), or from thermal radiation of Wolfram (white light), in different situations.
Also the laboratory focuses on the understanding of the inner workings of the optical spectrometer itself.

The next part of the lab report focuses on the methods of doing some measures. Before any measurements
and/or observations we must first of all calibrate the spectrometer itself.
This is done by a few steps: the first thing we must be sure that the collimator emits a bright red light (in
the case that is has as a light source the Ne discharge tube) by adjusting the 3 knobs on the side of collimator.
Then place the prism on the table slightly slid back from the center of the table , and now moving the prism table
find with the telescope the point where no matter how much more you move the prism the lines won't move to the
right any more , this means that youre at the minimum deviation position. If the telescope produces fuzzy lines or
unclear cross-wires adjust this with the focusing know. Now every movement done to the prism will affect the
The next step is to change the tube of Ne to one of He, this is relatively easy, just don't forget to turn of the
power supply off (if not turned off there is a risk of electric shock)
The last step of the calibration is to correlate the angle seen on the vernier scale of the telescope to the
wavelength of the light emitted. From the picture of the helium spectrum search the lines with the telescope and
note down the angle at which you see the line. Then with the values of the angles and wavelength put them in a
graph , the line which it produces should obey the following curve =
+ k/() where
and k are constants
determined by fitting the values of angles () and wavelength() in the formula.
So now that the calibration is over we can start with the observations and measurements.
The first thing that we will measure will be the wavelength resolution of the telescope:
For the resolution we need the width of a line and spectral spread , both are easy to obtain :first move the
telescope so that the cross-wires at the edge of a line (note the position) and then move to other edge ,then just
subtract the values ;secondly the spectral spread is obtained by seeing the extremes of the spectrum (in
nanometers) and then the angle which it corresponds (in minutes ) then dividing then (nm/min) ; the resolution is
the product of line width and spectral spread.
Measuring specific lines of Hg spectral light and the human limit of vision:
Replace the He with the Hg tube and note down at what angle the spectrum produces the brightest line (in
the green part of the spectrum ) and determine then the of it.
Change the Hg with a white-light source and find the edge of the red limit (the lower limit of it, towards
the infrared) and the violet limit (the higher limit of it, towards the ultraviolet) then note the both angles and
convert them to .
Another use of the spectrometer is to measure the dispersion of the prism:
To determine the refractive index of the prism we need the deviation (D) for different spectral lines and the
angle of the apex or the prism (which is 60

for the prism I used).
The deviation is the position of the telescope minus the straight-through position; this is obtained by
removing the prims and pointing the telescope straight at the collimator, this is the straight-through positions .
Then take 5 line in the spectrum of He and obtain the deviation of each one, and then just simply plug in
the values in the reflective index formula n=
((() ))
(( ))
for each line
The next experiment is diffraction grating spectrum:
In this experiment we will replace the prism with a diffraction grating (which a sheet that has very large
number of slits that are regular and very closely space) and placing it centrally on the spectrometer table and
orient it broadside on the bean from the collimator.
Then the light source must be changed with the Hg, and then measure the position of the 3 lines in the Hg
spectrum , but note that the spectrum is more spread out than those produced by the prism.
After the 3 measurements were are taken then using the formula m=d sin ( is the angle produced by
the diffraction and the straight-through line, and is the wavelength, d is the grating spacing)

In the next part I will discuss the results that I have obtained of each of the parts of this laboratory:

The first thing was the calibration, obtaining the correlation between the angle of the telescope and .

=13745' (minutes) ; k = 6.0710
nm ; Both were obtained by putting the values form telescope angle and and
forming 2 equations with two unknown number ,and substituting one form one equation into the other .
+ k/() values for are in nm and in min; and the graph is in Annex 1;
(nm) 706.5 667.8 587.6 504.8 501.6 471.3 447.1
Telescope angle
(degrees , minutes)

42' 230

50' 231

30' 232

20' 232

22' 233

01' 233

Table 1: Calibration of the spectrometer.

The results from that represent the resolution of the spectrometer.
Range of nm extremes are: 259 nm; Spectral spread: 1.42 nm/ min; line width: 2.1 minutes of arc ;
Range of telescope angels: 182

; Wavelength resolution: 3 nm;

No. of resolution elements in spectrum: 100;

Measuring with the Spectrometer the light from Hg and white-light:
Telescope position of brightest line: 232

Wavelength of brightest line: 550.3 nm;
Red limit is at 230

45' with a of 779.0 nm;

Violet limit is at 235

02' with a of 412.3nm;

Measuring the Dispersion of the Prism:
Straight-through position of the telescope: 180

(nm) 706.5 667.8 587.6 504.8 471.3
n 1.639 1.640 1.647 1.656 1.732
Table 2: Dispersion of the prism.
Average n: 1.663
Accuracy of n :

Diffraction Grating Spectrum:
Grating spacing d : 0.00167 mm ; this was obtained by using the formula m=dsin ; and knowing that m=1 and
the brightest green is at 546.1 nm d=

; no. of lines/mm = ;
Telescope position (nm)
Longest wavelength 208

10' 27

30' 803.8
Brightest green 199

21' 18

41' 546.1
Deepest violet 195

05' 14

25' 421.4
Table 3: Angle values for the diffraction grating.

Next I will discuss results of the laboratory, conclusions, improvements that can be brought to the
experiment and sources of errors.
As far as I am concerned the laboratory aims were achieved by the fact that after this laboratory I had a
better understanding of the behavior of light in different situations. Other beneficial things that this experiment
had to offer were: getting used to working with the Vernier scale, improvements in the measurement of precise
angles, and having the opportunity to see how light behaves.
For the results on the calibration curve (Graph 1 on Annex1) there were several things that could have
intervened in the process of obtaining an accurate result.
The best fit line (blue one) was created by the equation: =0 + k/() were 0 =13745' (minutes) and k =
6.0710 nm where determined by creating 2 equations with two known and then solving the system of
equations .Then the range was widened from 447.1 and 706.5 to 400 and 900 with increments of 20 nm (for the
wavelength) .
Initially the graph done in the laboratory looked kind of a line but after the range extension and increasing
number of points the curve line developed.
The values for the widened range were an arbitrary decision, but I wanted to have the visible range of the
spectrum in the curve. The curve extends more than the graph shows, but for the purpose of this experiment it is
enough the range value (because our detectors (our eyes) don't see beyond the visible part of the spectrum of
electromagnetic radiation) so no observations can be made in the infrared or ultraviolet regions).
The orange line is my experimental line (with the values that I have obtained in the experiment itself, it has
small deviations from the best fit line because of several factors that will be disused in the next paragraphs of the
The first thing that contributed to the fact that the experimental curve does not coincide with the best fit
curve is mainly the fact that the reading of the angle was not so precise doe to human error , possibly even lac of
accuracy of the apparatus (this is very, very small or inexistent ).
Secondly, the loss of accuracy and the accumulation of error in calculations are due to the fact that I have
not worked with a great number of significant numbers.
Other things that may have contributed to the loss of date (or degradation of it) may have been the fact that
the light sources that I used had some impurities in/on them ( because any impurity that is present in the discharge
tube will produce or absorb specific wavelength , produce if it is present inside the tube thus being ionized and
giving off a specific wavelength that can be confused with other lines , or absorb if it is o the glass of the
discharge tube , aborning some of the wavelengths), impurities/defects in the prism (like cracks or the fact that
the prism may not be perfect ,not have perfectly straight facets, or impurities in the prism that make it absorb
some light ) , although these problems might be minor ,or even inexistent( but a perfect prims still does not exist).
Improvements can be made to increase the accuracy of the measurements, which will also improve the
Fist if we eliminate the human part out of the equation , the errors will decrease drastically , by the fact
that the human eye is not a reliable for measuring the limits of the spectrum because everybody has a slightly
different anatomical performance(for example someone wears glasses or can't see the same limit of the spectrum
as other people) , by replacing it with a camera that will see precisely every time and by using just one camera
there is no need to adjust the telescope no more , and it can also be linked to a computer so the calibration is done
by it (this also implies that it has control of the prism table, and the telescope angle).
Secondly the bigger the circle on which the telescope travels the more easily can the light be measured,
because the light lines will be separated much more, and the scale that is on the telescope (which measures angles)
could also be bigger thus making it more easily read (if is not fully computerized) but this has a practical
drawback by the fact that it cannot be made very big because it will take space too much, this has to be balanced
Another improvement can be to make a shielding so that rogue light that reflects of the surfaces around the
spectrometer will not affect the final result and also will increase the visibility of the lines because there is no
competing light which makes the lines look dimmer than they are (an actual problem with the dimmer light lines
in the diffraction grating), one solution to the problem can be enclosing the whole apparatus in an opaque housing.
Also that light passes from the light source through many mediums (glass , air , plastic in a long
combination), by removing one medium form the equation air and replacing it with a high vacuum, so that
any light emitted from the source will not be absorbed by it (although air has a very small impact on the
measurement ) this is only viable if we want to determine the composition(chemical) of source and that sample
and that sample contains oxygen and nitrogen (to a greater extent argon).
This comes without saying but better optical elements will result in better performance, so as close as
possible to a perfect prism (and other optical elements, lenses) will give much better results, and also a high purity
calibration discharge tube, and a more accurate known spectrum (as the one provided in the laboratory manual),
will also have a beneficial effect on the result.
The same setup can be used to determine the composition of the light source (the elements it contains)
because certain elements can only emit certain wavelengths of light when exited in a gas phase. This can be used
in different way, to calculate the redshift of stars (thus there speed going away from us ,the Doppler effect), by the
fact that the light emitted by certain elements is constant(meaning that an elements has the same spectral
signature , producing the same lines at the same wavelengths no matter where the gas is exited (i.e. a star or a
discharge tube)) .
In conclusion the experiment was a success, and a great way to see the behavior of light in certain

I certify that this report has been written by me.

Dabuleanu Dragos