Molecular Spectra

The energy levels of an atom are determined by its electrons. In the case of a molecule, there are many more possibilities: atoms can vibrate around their equilibria and the molecule can rotate around some axis. Both vibrational and rotational states are quantized. Transitions between successive vibrational states typically involve photons in the infrared band, while transitions between rotational states involve photons in the microwave band. These combined with transitions of electrons produce a band spectrum, characteristic for molecules (Fig. 5.9). The spectrum has several narrow bands composed of a great number of lines.

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