Are you interested in spectroscopy but don’t know where to begin? You are in luck! We’ve recently designed a new experiment, “A Guided Inquiry Approach to Understanding Fluorescence Spectroscopy,” to help students understand what goes on inside the “black box” of a spectrophotometer. This experiment, which can be done with either Go Direct® SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer or our Vernier Fluorescence/UV-VIS Spectrophotometer, has four parts that build upon each other. This allows you to decide what level is right for your students and lets students learn at their own pace. The design also helps to break down spectrometer data collection into manageable chunks, so students are able to gain confidence with the use of the instrument and then quickly move on to focusing on the science.

In the first part of the experiment, students learn about the instrument and the data-collection parameters without a sample. Students develop an understanding of how the parameters play off of each other to generate a spectrum. This part is appropriate for students who are just learning about spectroscopy. In Part II, students explore basic fluorescence data collection with a known sample. The goal of this section is for students to get a strong, clear spectrum while manipulating both familiar and advanced data-collection parameters. For the next part, students prepare serial dilutions to investigate the most vital, and perhaps trickiest part of fluorescence spectroscopy, the effect of concentration on fluorescence emission. Finally, in Part IV, students start to learn about the properties of molecules through fluorescence spectroscopy. This section is appropriate for more advanced students. Several parameters can be investigated; in our new experiment, students examine how changes in pH and heavy atom concentration modify fluorescence emissions.

There are two versions of A Guided Inquiry Approach to Understanding Fluorescence Spectroscopy. Use the one that matches your equipment. The Instructor download includes notes, sample results and graphs, and answers.

Spectrophotometer Download
Go Direct® SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer Student Instructor
Vernier Fluorescence/UV-VIS Spectrophotometer Student Instructor