Chemlab: Chemistry 6

Spectrum of the Hydrogen Atom


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Meterstick Spectroscope

The meterstick spectroscope consists of two metersticks, a diffraction grating, a slit, and a light source. You can learn more about how the spectroscope works by using the Atomic Spectra Applet, described on the Getting Started page.

Move your cursor over the image for information about the instrument.

Aligning the Spectroscope
Image 2
First, line the spectroscope up with the light source so that bright light passes through the opening in the meterstick.

Image 3
Adjust slits by making the razor blades parallel and close together.

Slits that are narrow will make the lines sharper.

Slits that are more open will give brighter lines.

Using the Spectroscope
Image 4
To observe a spectrum, look through the grating toward meterstick a.

An image of the spectral lines will appear on the meterstick, on either side of the slit.

Work with your partner to find a good way to measure distance a, between the slit and each observed line.

Image 5
Be sure that you look through the center of the grating when you determine distance a.

Try to keep your head in one position as you read the line positions on the meterstick.

The allignment and geometry of the meterstick spectroscope can be explored using the Atomic Spectra Applet described on the Getting Started page.

Image 7
To determine distance b, from the slit to grating, read the value at the edge of the grating mount, marked by an arrow.

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