Spectroscopic Techniques


During the UC the students will develop transversal knowledge and skills allowing to:
• Improve the knowledge acquired during previous courses;
• Develop communication skills, to elaborate concise and coherent argumentation, both oral and in writing; develop team-work capabilities;
• Develop research competencies as well as aptitude for the interpretation of scientific literature.

By accomplishing this UC the students will have developed scientific knowledge and know-how in order to:
• Undertake informed decisions on which spectroscopic technique is suitable for the resolution of a given challenge, to investigate the fundamental properties of a particular material.
• Adequately process the retrieved spectral data and carry out spectral interpretation
• Interpret the obtained results taking into account the basic principles of Atomic and Molecular Physics in order to identify the origin of the observed transitions and energy levels involved; Interpret the shape and intensity of the observed signal and gather information relevant to the problem in hands.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

António Alberto Dias


Weekly - 4

Total - 29

Teaching language



It is highly recommended the previous approval in the following courses: Ótica, Física Atómica (e Física Molecular) e Mecânica Quântica.


• Modern Spectroscopy 4th Ed. (Wiley), J.M. Hollas, 2004.

• Molecular Spectroscopy, Jeanne L. McHale, CRC Press, 2017.

• Optical Spectroscopy: Methods and Instrumentations, Nikolai V. Tkachenko, Elsevier Science, 2006.

• Laboratory Micro-X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy: Instrumentation and Applications, Michael Haschke, Springer, 2014.

• Electronic and photoelectron spectroscopy - Fundamentals and case studies, Andrew M. Ellis, Miklos Feher, Timothy G. Wrigh, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

• Scientific articles to be specified during classes.

Teaching method

This curricular unit is organized in two hours of theoretical-practical classes (TP) per week. These classes are expository involving the use of audiovisual media, in which will be presented the various spectroscopy techniques, including examples of application, which will be complemented by discussion of concrete problems. Students are encouraged to a committed study of the subjects covered and are expected to maintain regular contact with teachers outside of school hours.

During the semester, there will be several laboratory classes, in which they will have direct contact with some of the equipment covered in this UC, will perform practical work and produce the respective report.

There will be a seminar on spectroscopic techniques or methods and at the end of the semester will have an individual assessment in the form of a test.

During the semester will be valued active participation in classes

Evaluation method


In view of the pandemic situation, students wishing to take the appeal exam, must be enrolled in Spectroscopy Techniques on the moodle platform - https://moodle.fct.unl.pt/course/view.php?id=6495The exam will be carried out in a Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser environment working in association with Moodle.Only students who have not passed this course or who have registered regularly for improvement can access the exam.

All students will have direct contact with 3 experimental techniques in the laboratory, in face-to-face classes. The remaining classes will be online. In the first class the dates of the laboratory classes will be agreed.
Article 1 - Mode of knowledge assessment
1. The evaluation in “Spectroscopy Techniques” is of the continuous evaluation type.
2. Assessment is a single method for all students.
3. The classifications mentioned in the following Articles are expressed on a scale of 0 to 20 values.

Article 2 - Frequency
1. Active participation in at least 2/3 of the classes is mandatory to obtain frequency.
2. Justifications for any absences from classes will not be accepted. Students must manage the possibility of not being able to attend 1/3 of the classes in order to be able to use these absences for possible commitments or imponderable situations, including occasional situations of illness.

Article 3 - Evaluation
1. Knowledge assessment is carried out by three elements of assessment:
• Laboratory work with group report (R) (35%)
Laboratory work with a group report. Discussion of the reports may be requested, with eventual individual classification.
• Seminar (S) prepared in group, with oral presentation (35%)
Seminar focuses on the discussion and presentation of a spectroscopic technique of one of the available scientific articles. The seminar will have an oral presentation with discussion. This presentation is supported by a PowerPoint file or similar, and also by a summary document in the form of a paper, which are previously sent to the teaching team.
• Test (T) (30%)
At the end of the semester there will be a general knowledge assessment test, with a minimum grade of ten.
2. Students who comply with the indicated in no. 1 of Art.2 and obtain a final classification
C = 0.35R + 0.35S + 0.30T
equal to or greater than 10 values obtain approval in this Course.

Article 4 - Others
1. The student, when contacting the teaching team by email, must indicate in the "Subject" the following information: "TE - Name - Number of student - Subject".

Subject matter

1. Introduction

Brief historical perspective; Considerations on Optics, Atomic (and Molecular) physics and Quantum Mechanics; Applications of Modern spectroscopy

2. Interaction of electromagnetic radiation and matter

Electromagnetic radiation. Main interactions. Radiation emission and absorption processes. Probability and width of transition. Electric dipole operator. Connection with experimental results.

3. X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)

Production of X-Rays. X-ray Fluorescence. Components of an XRF spectrometer. Interpretation and quantification of XRF spectra. Practical application.

4. Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy

Radiation sources, energy analyzer, detection and signal processing. Types of spectra. Direct ionization and self-ionization. Ressonant absorption and decay. Franck Condon factor. Angular distribution of photoelectrons. Electric  dipole selection rules. Practical application

5. Vibrational spectroscopy – Infrared and Raman

Molecular vibrations and transition rules. Normal modes of vibration. Identification of IR active modes. Anharmocity of the harmonic oscillator. Interpretation of IR spectra.

Raman scattering. Classical approach to the Raman effect. The polarizability tensor and symmetry properties. Selection rules. Polarization of transitions. Practical application.