Widths and Profiles of Spectral Lines

  • Wolfgang Demtröder
Part of the Advanced Texts in Physics book series (ADTP)


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 = (E i - E k )/h corresponding to a molecular transition with the energy difference ΔE = E i - E k 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 shortened to the linewidth or halfwidth of the spectral line.


Spectral Line Line Profile Inelastic Collision Elastic Collision Line Shift 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

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

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