Types of Spectra. Spectra. Most of you have seen light passed through a prism and separated into a rainbow of colors. Today you will use a different device to get a separation of colors. This device is known as a diffraction grating .
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This type of spectra is seen as having individual lines of different colors.
The colors that are emitted by an excited atom are characteristic of that particular kind of atom.
They represent a unique set of energy levels (electron orbits) for that kind of atom.
These unique sets of energy levels are predicted by quantum mechanics, not classical mechanics.
As an example of the kind of spectra that you will see today, the discrete spectra of oxygen and carbon appear on the next slide.