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How to get spectra from a metal?

  1. Sep 15, 2008 #1
    Don't exactly know where to put this but how would one examine the spectra of a metal ore to find what is in it? That being, not using a mass spectrometre.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2008 #2
    This is a very vague question.

    The spectra you get depends on how you look/what you are looking for.

    I'm assuming you have samples that you want to analyze. Please give more information regarding what form the samples take, their physical size, and what you might be looking for.

    Edit: Not as vague as I originally read. Still knowing something about the expected sample chacteristics would be beneficial.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  4. Sep 16, 2008 #3


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    Actually, it IS as vague as you first thought.

    "Spectra" is simply the decomposition of some property of the material. You decompose light into its various "colors" when you pass it through a prism. That's a spectrum. But this is not the only type of spectrum. You can get a spectrum out of an X-ray diffraction, a photoemission, an Auger measurement, a neutron scattering, etc.. etc.

    Thus, question on how one would examine "the spectra" is vague because the type of spectroscopy being performed was never described.

  5. Sep 16, 2008 #4
    Right, but when I reread it, I realized that the guy (I think) just wants a list of analytical techniques that might be used.
  6. Sep 16, 2008 #5


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    If that's the case, then he/she wants "A spectra".

    Do you realize that both you and I have written and thought about it more than what the OP had written?

  7. Sep 16, 2008 #6
    XPS (X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy) works well for this.
    It gives information based on the energy levels of the core electron shells, and thus allows determining elemental composition fairly well regardless of ionic / covalent bonds (for example FTIR would not work well for this).

    Auger also works well.

    I hope that helps.
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