00911 - Applied spectroscopy

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Elisabetta Venuti

  • Credits 4

  • SSD CHIM/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Industrial Chemistry (cod. 8513)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

The  aim of this course is to provide an understanding about various spectroscopic techniques, from the theoretical background to the experimental procedures. 

After completing the course the student will be able to

  • Explain how various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used to measure different aspects of molecular structure and properties
  • Use spectroscopic terminology and concepts
  • Analyse real experimental data to retrieve chemical information
  • Explain laser operation and how the properties of laser light can be exploited.


Course contents

The electromagnetic radiation. Light-matter interaction. Basic concepts on absorption and emission of electromagnetic radiation by molecular species. Einstein transition probability. Population of levels. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Rotational spectroscopy. Rotational energy levels. Pure rotational spectra. Selection rules. Population of levels and spectral structure. Intensity of rotational transitions. Non-rigid rotors. Rotational spectra of polyatomic molecules. Description of instrumentation for rotational spectroscopy.

Vibrational spectroscopy. Introduction to the basic theory for  infrared (IR) and vibrational Raman spectroscopies, with examples of applications.  Starting from the treatment of vibrations using the simple model of the harmonic oscillator, we will then move on to the analysis of more complex spectra, introducing the concept of group frequencies. The student will be given a detailed description of the instruments for vibrational spectroscopy measurements: FT-IT, ATR, Raman spectrometers.


Electronic Spectroscopy (UV-Vis). The electronic transitions. Electronic spectra of simple molecules. The Franck-Condon principle and vibronic transitions. The electronic spectra of polyatomic molecules and the chromophores. The fate of electronically excited states: non-radiative decay, radiative decay: fluorescence and phosphorescence. Description of the instrumentation.  

Summary on the applications of spectroscopic techniques to the study of atmosphere, astrophysics, solid state, materials, cultural heritage.


Lecture notes provided on all subjects and available to the students of the course on the university repository.


Molecular spectroscopy / Jeanne L. McHale.
Second edition. Boca Raton : CRC Press, 2017.

Teaching methods

Oral exam 

Office hours

See the website of Elisabetta Venuti