One of the first instruments an analyst learns to operate in their career is some form of an energy-based detector. These types of detectors are often at the heart of other spectrometry and chromatography instruments. The basis for many GC and LC instruments is a spectrometry or spectrophotometry configuration in which energy (or light) plays an important role in analysis.
There is often a lot of confusion between the terms chromatography, spectroscopy, spectrometry, and spectrophotometry. These concepts are intrinsically linked but are still different approaches to looking at (or measuring) matter with light (or energy). The terms are all based around the Greek word origins for color (chroma-) and light (photo-) combined with the terms” ‘to write’ (graphein), ‘to measure’ (metria), ‘to see’ (skopia), or the Latin ‘to look at’ (specere). The different disciplines can be understood as a general sphere of study with levels of increasing specialty or specificity.
Spectrometry (the measurement of the interaction of energy and matter) is the basis for all of the other techniques. There are several types of spectrometry defined by their target and method of measurement. The most common analytical techniques found in the organic laboratory are mass spectrometry and spectroscopy. The Electromagnetic Spectrum and Color