November 14, 2009

what's the difference?

As a guy with big magnets, I have, from time to time been asked, what is the difference between imaging and spectroscopy?

An image is a graphical representation of the spatial distribution of a substance or property.

Spectroscopy is the use of electromagnetic energy to study matter, generally using the frequency- or wavelength-dependence of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter, to probe the composition or structure of the matter.

Often, these are two sides of the same coin: Many interactions between energy and matter are used for both imaging and spectroscopy; many imaging methods are spectrally specific.

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