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Q: Physics ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Physics
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: khanmaria-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Aug 2002 08:57 PDT
Expires: 10 Sep 2002 08:57 PDT
Question ID: 53256
Name scientist who discovred a Spectrum by heating chem. elements?
Subject: Re: Physics
Answered By: till-ga on 11 Aug 2002 09:24 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The chemists Bunsen and Kirchhoff discoverd spectral analysis.
Fascinating original article by them:
"Chemical Analysis by Observation of Spectra

Annalen der Physik und der Chemie (Poggendorff), Vol. 110 (1860), pp.
161-189 (dated Heidelberg, 1860)


It is known that several substances have the property of producing
certain bright lines when brought into the flame. A method of
qualitative analysis can be based on these lines, whereby the field of
chemical reactions is greatly widened and hitherto inaccessible
problems are solved. We limit ourselves here to developing the method
for alkali and earth-alkali metals and demonstrating its value By some

The lines show up the more distinctly the higher the temperature and
the lower the luminescence of the flame itself. The gas burner
described by one of us (Bunsen, these Ann. 100, p. 85) has a flame of
very high temperature and little luminescence and is, therefore,
particularly suitable for experiments on the bright lines that are
characteristic for these substances.

Figure 3-1 shows the apparatus we used for the observation of spectra.
A is an internally blackened box with a trapezoidal bottom resting on
three legs; the two oblique side walls, which form an angle of about
58° with each other, carry the two small telescopes B and C. The
eyepiece of the first is removed and replaced by a plate in which a
slit formed by two brass edges is adjusted at the focus of the
objective lens. The lamp D is arranged before the slit so that the rim
of the flame is on the axis of tube B. Somewhat below the spot where
the axis meets the rim, there is the end of the loop formed in a fine
platinum wire, which is held by arm E. The little pearl of the dry
chlorine compound to be investigated is melted to this loop. Between
the objective lenses of telescopes B and C is the hollow prism F of
60° refractive angle; it is filled with carbon disulphide. The prism
rests on a brass plate that can be rotated on a vertical axis. This
axis carries mirror G on its lower end and, above it, handle H by
which prism and mirror can be rotated. A small telescope is directed
toward the mirror so that the observer can see the horizontal scale
mounted at a small distance. By rotating the prism, the entire
spectrum of the flame can be brought before the hair line of telescope
C . . . . Every place in the spectrum corresponds to a reading to be
made on the scale. If the spectrum is very weak, the hairline in C is
illuminated with the aid of a lens that throws part of the rays of a
lamp through a small opening in the side of the ocular tube of C.

We have compared the spectra produced by the above-mentioned chlorine
compounds with those obtained when the bromides, iodides, oxides,
sulphates, and carbonates of the metals are brought into the flames of
sulphur, carbon dioxide, aqueous alcohol, illuminating gas, carbon
monoxide, hydrogen, and detonating gas.

In this time-consuming, extensive research, which need not be
presented here in detail, it came out that the variety of the
compounds in which the metals were used, the differences in the
chemical processes of the flames, and the great difference between
their temperatures had no influence on the position of the spectral
lines corresponding to the individual metals.


Of all spectral reactions, that of sodium is the most sensitive. Swan
(these Ann. 100, p. 311 ) has already drawn attention to the smallness
of the sodium chloride quantity that can still produce a distinct
sodium line.

The following experiment shows that chemistry has no reaction
comparable in sensitivity to this spectrum-analytical determination of
sodium. In a corner of our 60 cu.m. room farthest away from the
apparatus, we exploded 3 mg. of sodium chlorate with milk sugar while
observing the nonluminous flame before the slit. After a few minutes,
the flame gradually turned yellow and showed a strong sodium line that
disappeared only after 10 minutes. From the weight of the sodium salt
and the volume of air in the room, we easily calculate that one part
by weight of air could not contain more than 1/20 millionth weight of
sodium. The reaction can conveniently be noticed within a period of
one second, and in this time only about 50 cc. or 0.0647 g. of air
containing less than a twenty-millionth gram per gram pass through the
flame, which means that the eye can perceive quite distinctly less
than 1/3 millionth mg. of the sodium salt. With this sensitivity of
the reaction it becomes understandable that only rarely is a
noticeable sodium reaction absent in air at glowing temperature.

This sodium chloride content of the air, which can easily be proven by
spectral analysis, deserves attention in another respect. If, as can
now scarcely be doubted, there are catalytic influences that are
responsible for the miasmatic spreading of diseases, then an
antiseptic substance like sodium chloride could scarcely be without
essential influences in the air, even if present only in minimal
amounts. By daily and long-continued spectral observations, it will be
easy to learn whether changes in the intensity of the spectral lines
produced by atmospheric sodium compounds have any connection with the
advent of endemic diseases or the direction in which they are


The glowing vapor of lithium compounds produces two sharply defined
lines: a yellow, weak Lib, and a red, strong Lia. This reaction, too,
surpasses all others known in analytical chemistry as to definiteness
and sensitivity.

With this method, the unexpected fact can be stated beyond any doubt
that in nature lithium is one of the most widely distributed

It hardly needs to be remarked that the lines of lithium are shown by
a mixture of sodium and lithium salts, side by side with the sodium
reaction and nearly undiminished in sharpness and distinctness. When a
pearl with a content of 1/1,000 lithium salt is brought into a flame,
the red line of lithium appears, although the naked eye notices only
the yellow light of the sodium without any reddish coloring. The
sodium reaction persists somewhat longer, because the lithium salts
are more volatile.

In the technical production of lithium compounds, spectral analysis
offers a tool of inestimable value for selecting materials and


In the flame, the volatile potassium compounds give a very long
continuous spectrum with only two characteristic lines: the first, Ka
is in the farthest red bordering on the infrared, exactly coinciding
with the dark line A of the sun spectrum; the other, Kb far in the
violet and also coinciding with a Fraunhofer line. A very weak line,
coinciding with the Fraunhofer line B, is visible from a highly
intense flame, but not very characteristic.


The spectra of all the alkaline earths are much less simple than those
of the alkalies. Strontium is especially characterized by the absence
of green lines; eight lines are very prominent, six red, one orange,
and one blue.


The calcium spectrum can be distinguished at a glance from the four
discussed above because it has a very characteristic and intense line
in green, Cab. A second, no less characteristic, is the strong orange
line Caa, much farther toward the red than the sodium line or the
orange line of strontium.


The barium spectrum is the most complicated of the spectra of alkalies
and earth alkalies. Different from the above-described are the easily
recognized green lines Baa and Bab; they are more intense than all the
others, the first to appear and the last to fade in a weak reaction.
Bag is less sensitive but still characteristic. The proportionately
great extension of the spectrum makes the spectral reactions of barium
compounds somewhat less sensitive than the others. In our room, 0.3 g.
barium chlorate were burnt with milk sugar; after the air had been
thoroughly mixed by means of an open umbrella, the Baa line was
distinctly visible for some time. From a calculation like that carried
out for sodium, it can be concluded that less than 1/1,000 mg. is
indicated by the reaction.

Spectrum analysis should become important for the discovery of
hitherto unknown elements. If there should be substances that are so
sparingly distributed in nature that our present means of analysis
fail for their recognition and separation, then we might hope to
recognize and to determine many such substances in quantities not
reached by our usual means, by the simple observation of their flame
spectra. We have had occasion already to convince ourselves that there
are such now unknown elements. Supported by unambiguous results of the
spectral-analytical method, we believe we can state right now that
there is a fourth metal in the alkali group besides potassium, sodium,
and lithium, and it has a simple characteristic spectrum like lithium;
a metal that shows only two lines in our apparatus: a faint blue one,
almost coinciding with Sr, and another blue one a little further to
the violet end of the spectrum and as strong and as clearly defined as
the lithium line.

Spectrum analysis, which, as we hope we have shown, offers a
wonderfully simple means for discovering the smallest traces of
certain elements in terrestrial substances, also opens to chemical
research a hitherto completely closed region extending far beyond the
limits of the earth and even of the solar system. Since in this
analytical method it is sufficient to see the glowing gas to be
analyzed, it can easily be applied to the atmosphere of the sun and
the bright stars. However, a modification is here necessary, because
of the light emitted by these stars. One of us in his work "on the
relationship between emission and absorption of bodies for heat and
light" (Kirchhoff, these Ann. 109, p. 275) has proved theoretically
that the spectrum of a glowing gas is reversed; i.e., the bright lines
are converted into dark ones, in case it has behind it a light source
of sufficient intensity and sending out a continuous spectrum. It can
be concluded that the spectrum of the sun with its dark lines is just
a reversal of the spectrum which the atmosphere of the sun would show
by itself. Therefore, the chemical analysis of the sun's atmosphere
requires only the search for those substances that produce the bright
lines that coincide with the dark lines of the solar spectrum.

For example, the bright red line in the spectrum of a gas flame into
which some lithium chloride has been brought changes into a black line
when full sunlight is transmitted through the flame."

Kirchoff and Bunssen on Spectroscopy

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khanmaria-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Physics
From: davestats-ga on 11 Aug 2002 09:17 PDT
could it be Roentgen ?
Subject: Re: Physics
From: till-ga on 11 Aug 2002 09:47 PDT
Some seconds after I posted my answer I discoverd that you asked your
questiion twice (with different subjects). Both have been answered and
I donīt know what is going to happen now.
Certainly you can ask the editors for a refund to one of the answers.


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