The discovery by Robert Bunsen which allowed elements to be identified more easily, and even led to the discovery of new ones.
- Gustav Kirchoff assembled the first spectroscope - two telescopes were angled at either side of a glass prism.
- Kirchoff heated a sodium compound, the light emitted entered the first telescope and split up as it passed through the prism.
- The separated light waves were then viewed in the second telescope - as two orange lines - revealing excited electrons in sodium decreasing in energy.
- The spectroscope allows further analysis of pure elements and has even lead to the discovery of new elements.
In the 1850s Robert Bunsen discovered that burning pure compounds in his clear Bunsen flame produced characteristic colours.
But this wasn't a very precise way to identify all the different elements.
Bunsen's colleague, Gustav Kirchhoff, suggested the flame colours could be analysed more accurately, through a prism.
When white light ...
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