Vibrational spectroscopy simplified

Max Diem`s Introduction to Modern Vibrational Spectroscopy is aimed at the advanced undergraduate and/or professional scientist with some training in quantum mechanics. Many of the basic concepts required to understand vibrational spectroscopy are presented, and examples are given when appropriate. In general, the author has omitted the mathematical rigor associated with both the underlying quantum mechanics and the application of vibrational spectroscopy to quantitative analysis. While these om

Vibrational spectroscopy simplified

Steven W. Sharpe

Introduction to Modern Vibrational Spectroscopy

Max Diem, John Wiley & Sons, 1993, 285 pages, $59.95.

Max Diem`s Introduction to Modern Vibrational Spectroscopy is aimed at the advanced undergraduate and/or professional scientist with some training in quantum mechanics. Many of the basic concepts required to understand vibrational spectroscopy are presented, and examples are given when appropriate. In general, the author has omitted the mathematical rigor associated with both the underlying quantum mechanics and the application of vibrational spectroscopy to quantitative analysis. While these omissions are probably welcome by some readers, readers interested in gas-phase vibrational spectroscopy, such as those working on atmospheric monitoring applications (an admitted bias of this reviewer), may feel left out.

The book begins with a short review of quantum mechanics, taking the reader through a series of concepts relevant to vibrational spectroscopy. In lieu of rigorous treatment, a generous number of references are given at the end of each chapter.

Treatment of vibrations in polyatomic systems, along with a matrix description of the normal-mode calculations, is presented in the third chapter along with several important force-field models, including the Generalized Valence Force Field and the Urey-Bradley Force Field. To reinforce these concepts, the author has worked through the normal-mode vibrational analysis of the water molecule.

One of the major computational tools used in vibrational spectroscopy is grou¥theory, which allows the spectros copist to efficiently determine selection rules governing the "allowedness" of a vibrational transition based on the symmetry of the molecule. Grou¥theory and symmetry are invaluable tools to understanding and predicting the vibrational spectroscopy of polyatomic systems. The author has done an excellent job developing the concepts needed to apply grou¥theory to vibrational spectroscopy. Once again, concepts developed in this section are reinforced by examples using the water molecule. A set of character tables for some of the common symmetry groups has thoughtfully been included in the book`s appendix.

Raman spectroscopy and Fourier-transform Raman spectroscopy have proved to be invaluable analytical tools for routine analysis of many solid and liquid samples. Both infrared absorption and Raman spectroscopy are discussed in the same chapter, with Raman given most attention. This appears to be an appropriate division of labor due to the increased complexity of the Raman process and relative "newness" of Raman and Fourier-transform Raman spectroscopy.

A discussion and description of the various techniques and instrumentation used for obtaining vibrational spectra is presented midway through the book. This chapter includes details on the operational principles of dispersive, Fourier-transform, Raman and Hadamard-transform spectroscopies. Considering that the vast majority of commercially available infrared and Raman instruments are based on variations of the Michelson interferometer, the author has chosen to devote considerable effort in developing the formalism of the Fourier transform. It is unclear why he has chosen to mention Hadamard transform spectroscopy while neglecting other equally valuable techniques such as correlation and/or photoacoustic spectroscopies.

The last two chapters are devoted to biophysical applications of vibrational spectroscopy. Highlighted in these discussions are the techniques of vibrational circular dichroism and Raman optical activity for measuring optical activity in a variety of biomolecules such as peptides and proteins. While well written and up-to-date, these chapters are specialized, reflecting the research interests of the author, and may not be of interest to all readers.

STEVEN W. SHARPE is a senior research scientist at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Richland, WA 99352.

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