Works on the basis that atoms of metallic and other particular elements emit light at characteristic wavelengths when they are excited in a flame, arc, or spark. Excited light is directed through an entrance slit in the spectrometer. This light penetrates the slit, falls on a grate, and is dispersed and reflected. The spectrometer is calibrated by a series of standard samples containing known amounts of the elements of interest. By exciting these standard samples, an analytical curve can be established which gives the relationship between the light intensity and its concentration in the fluid.

Related Terms


A type of pyrometer, such as the Wanner optical pyrometer, in which monochromatic light from the source under investigation and light from a lamp with filament maintained at a constant but unknown temperature are both polarized and their intensities compared.


Smoothing the surface of a metal by a rapid series of overlapping, light hammerlike blows or by rolling in a planishing mill.


Concrete without reinforcement but often with light steel to reduce shrinkage and temperature cracking.


The electronic technology involved with the practical generation, manipulation, analysis, transmission, and reception of electromagnetic energy in the visible, infrared, and ultraviolet portions of the light spectrum. It contributes to many fields, including astronomy, biomedicine, data communications and storage, fiber optics, imaging, optical computing, optoelectronics, sensing, and telecommunications. Also known as optoelectronics.


A nephelometer that uses a photocell or phototube to measure the amount of light transmitted by a suspension of particles.


The production of a voltage in a nonhomogeneous semiconductor, such as silicon, or at a junction between two types of material, by the absorption of light or other electromagnetic radiation.


A device for measuring the speed of water currents in which a perforated disk, which rotates with the current by means of a propeller, is placed in the path of a beam of light that is then reflected from a mirror onto a phototube.


A level indicator in which rising liquid interrupts the light beam of a photoelectric control system; used in a tank or process vessel.


A missile dropped from aircraft; it contains a photoflash mixture and a means for ignition at a distance above the ground, to produce a brilliant light of short photoelectric effect See photoelectricity.


Device for measurement of solution turbidity by use of photocells to detect the loss of intensity of light beamed through the solution.

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