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Flame Analysis

Analysis Of Emission Spectra, Qualitative Testing

Allowing analysis of the light (photons) from excited atoms, flame analysis is a form of atomic emission spectroscopy (AES).

German chemist Robert Bunsen's (1811–1999) invention of the Bunsen burner—a tool now commonly used in modern chemistry laboratories—also spurred the development of flame analysis. Working with Gustav Kirchhoff (1824–1887), Bunsen helped to establish the principles and techniques of spectroscopy. Bunsen's techniques also enabled his discovery of the elements cesium and rubidium.

Bunsen's fundamental observation that flamed elements emit light only at specific wavelengths, and that every element produced a characteristic spectra, paved the way for the subsequent development of quantum theory by German physicist Maxwell Planck (1858–1947), Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885–1962), and others. Using techniques pioneered by Bunsen, scientists have since been able to determine the chemical composition of a variety of substances ranging from bioorganic debris to the composition of the stars.


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