Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Molecular physics is the study of the physical properties of molecules and of the chemical bonds between atoms that bind them into molecules. Its most important experimental techniques are the various types of spectroscopy. The field is closely related to atomic physics and overlaps greatly with theoretical chemistry and physical chemistry.
Additionally to the electronic excitation states which are known from atoms, molecules are able to rotate and to vibrate. These rotations and vibrations are quantized, there are discrete energy levels. The smallest energy energy differences exist between different rotational states, therefore pure rotational spectra are in the far infrared region (about 30 - 150 Ám wavelength) of the electromagnetical spectrum. Vibrational spectra are in the near infrared (about 1 - 5 Ám) and spectra resulting from electronic transitions are mostly in the visible and ultraviolet regions. From measuring rotational and vibrational spectra properties of molecules like the distance between the nuclei can be calculated.
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