Widths and Profiles of Spectral Lines

  • Wolfgang Demtröder


Spectral lines in discrete absorption or emission spectra are never strictly monochromatic. Even with the very high resolution of interferometers one observes a spectral distribution I(v) of the absorbed or emitted intensity around the central frequency v 0 = (Ei-Ek)/h corresponding to a molecular transition with the energy difference ΔE = Ei-Ek between upper and lower levels. The function I(v) in the vicinity of v 0 is called the line profile (Fig. 3.1). The frequency interval δv = |v 2-v 1| between the two frequencies v 1 and v 2 for which I(v 1) = I(v 2) = I(v 0)/2 is the Full Width at Half Maximum of the line (FWHM), often shortly called the linewidth or half-width of the spectral line.


Spectral Line Line Profile Inelastic Collision Elastic Collision Line Shift 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Demtröder
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich PhysikUniversität KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany

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