Spectrometry and spectroscopy may be similar in certain respects, however, they are two rather completely different terms. Some people often mix them up and inaccurately use them interchangeably to mean one or the same. Despite the fact that similarities still exist between spectrometry and spectroscopy, they still do not mean or refer to the same thing as many seem to think.
This is why, in this article, our objective is to examine and understand the difference(s) between spectrometry and spectroscopy. To have a clear understanding of these terms, we shall first be examining the basic connotations used in explaining both spectrometry and spectroscopy.
First, spectroscopy: this, on one hand, is concerned with the study of the interaction that exists between matter and radiated energy (electromagnetic). It other words, spectroscopy is concerned with how light and some other radiation or energy are absorbed and emitted by matter through atomic spectroscopy, electron spectroscopy, and so on. The process of spectroscopy involves the understanding of how the radiation is absorbed, how this leads to what is called "an excited level/state", that is later emitted, and how, afterward, the molecule is then non-destructively reformed into its original state.
Second, spectrometry: this, on the other hand, can be essentially referred to as "applied spectroscopy". It refers to an application that is necessary for the measurement of the absorption and emissions or energy (Skrabal, 2012). Basically, it deals with the measurement of certain spectrums. Spectrometry measures for wavelengths, the amount of the concentration of certain chemicals, and the deviation of rays and angles reflection between the sides of a prism. This method is commonly used in testing for the spectroscopic analysis of sample materials. For this measurement, scientists make use of a spectrometer that allows them to assess quantifiable data needed to understand the interaction between matter and radiation as well as the process by which energy is absorbed and emitted via atoms, electrons, etc.
Now, let us examine each one of these terms in detail.
As mentioned before, spectroscopy studies the dispersion of light (in other words, electromagnetic radiation) according to its spectrum and wavelength (Belyaev, 2011). This process is explained by the way light disperses and reflects through sides of a prism to produce the seven colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) (Skrabal, 2012).
Even in the former process of spectroscopy, experiments were initially done using a prism and photographic plates for wavelength dispersion of light. However, in the more advanced spectroscopy of our modern world, a diffraction grating is used instead of light dispersion. The projection of this light is then directed unto charged-coupled devices (CCDs) similar to those that can be found in digital cameras (Lindon, Tranter, and Holmes, 2000).
Spectroscopy, which began as a process of understanding the way light splits through prisms in wavelength, has now significantly expanded over time, due to continuous research, to also include interactions that could occur with radiative energy, via its frequency or wavelength, primarily electromagnetic spectrum (Skrabal, 2012). Other waveforms like matter, acoustic and gravitational waves have also be included to be forms of radiative energy.
In addition, modern spectroscopy studies the reaction such particles as, protons, electrons, and ions, as have. It also studies the interaction these particles have with other ones as a function of their reactive energy.
Spectrometry can be referred to as spectroscopy in the application. What spectrometry does is to measure light and matter interactions by focusing on the reactions and measurements of wavelength and the intensity of the radiation (Workman and Springsteen, 1998). Spectrometry can also be described as the measurements of select spectrums. This process is commonly used for spectroscopic analysis of selected materials. It is an applied process for determining the state or nature of the substance being analyzed by measuring the properties that are present in its composition (Workman and Springsteen, 1998).
One of the common types of spectrometry is the analytical technique of mass spectrometry. This technique measures the ratio of mass-to-charge of atoms and/or ions composed in a chemical substance. Mass spectrum results are then presented as a function of the ration of mass-to-charge. This method of measurement is performed using the spectrometer (de Hoffmann, Charette, and Stroobant, 2010). It is commonly used in different fields and can be carried out on both pure samples and complex mixtures as well.
There's also optical spectrometry. This technique measures the dispersion of light across the optical spectrums. Optical spectrometry uses the method of optical dispersion of to measure for the absorption and emission of light through an optical spectrum, the intensity of light as well as the function of its frequency or wavelength (Belyaev, 2011).
Another common type is the analytical method of ion-mobility spectrometry. This technique is utilized for the separation and identification of ionized molecules in the gas-based samples. Spectrometry can also be used for the identification and measurement of different food composition. It can also measure the level of toxicity in blood samples.
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