what is the difference between a continuous spectrum and a line spectrum

what is the difference between a continuous spectrum and a line spectrum

Foremost Distinction – Steady Spectrum vs Line Spectrum

A spectrum is a set of wavelengths that’s attribute of electromagnetic radiation which is emitted or absorbed by a specific object, substance, atom or a molecule. The colors of the rainbow, microwaves, ultraviolet radiation and x-ray are some examples. A spectrum is attribute of the weather current within the materials thought-about. Steady spectrum and line spectrum are two varieties of spectra; their major distinction is that steady spectrum comprises no gaps whereas line spectrum comprises many gaps. Nevertheless, it is very important know extra about absorption spectrum and emission spectrum, that are the 2 major spectra, earlier than studying the distinction between steady spectrum and line spectrum since each absorption and emission spectra are accountable for creating steady and line spectra.

This text explores,

You're reading: what is the difference between a continuous spectrum and a line spectrum

1. What’s an Absorption Spectrum2. What’s an Emission Spectrum3. What’s a Steady Spectrum4. What’s a Line Spectrum5. What’s the distinction between Steady Spectrum and Line SpectrumDifference Between Continuous Spectrum and Line Spectrum - Comparison Summary

What’s an Absorption Spectrum

When electromagnetic radiation is handed via a sure materials, some attribute wavelengths are absorbed by the weather within the materials. Nevertheless, the re-emitted photons are usually not re-emitted in the identical path. Because of the absence of this absorbed electromagnetic radiation, darkish strains seem within the spectrum. An absorption spectrum is plotted with absorbance within the y-axis and wavelength or frequency within the x-axis. Absorption spectra are utilized in varied evaluation methods similar to atomic absorption spectroscopy and UV-absorption spectroscopy. These methods are utilized in figuring out a sure species in a given combination or confirming the id of a specific species.

What’s an Emission Spectrum

When a beam of electromagnetic radiation is distributed via a pattern of atoms or molecules, the electrons in them take in vitality and switch themselves to the next vitality state. Then they fall again to the sooner vitality states they occupied by freely giving extra vitality they absorbed. When the launched vitality is plotted in opposition to the wavelength it’s known as an emission spectrum.

An absorption spectrum is denoted by the darkish strains in a brilliant background whereas the other is proven in an emission spectrum. These two are the reverse of one another. For a given component, the absorption strains correspond to the frequencies of the emission strains. It is because the vitality absorbed by electrons of a sure component to succeed in greater vitality ranges are emitted after they return to the beforehand occupied vitality stage.

What’s a Steady Spectrum

A steady spectrum is created by placing each absorption and emission spectra collectively. The principle requirement for a spectrum to be a steady spectrum is that it ought to comprise all of the wavelengths inside a given vary. Seen mild, when diffracted, produce a steady spectrum. The rainbow comprises seven colors which fade into one another with out leaving any hole. When a black object is heated to glow it emits radiation in a steady spectrum.

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Nevertheless, scientists say that steady spectrum additionally comprises gaps and could be seen solely when analysed by a spectrometer. A perfect steady spectrum mustn’t comprise and hole in anyway. This might solely be achieved at good lab settings and may be very uncommon.

What’s a Line Spectrum

Line spectra are generated solely in both absorption spectrum or emission spectrum. It reveals separate remoted strains in a given spectrum. These could be absorption strains which seem as darkish strains in a brilliant background or brilliant emission strains that seem on a darkish background.

Line spectra could be produced utilizing the identical supply of sunshine which produces a steady spectrum. Underneath excessive stress, a fuel produces a steady spectrum. Nevertheless, beneath low stress, the identical fuel can provide rise to both an absorption or an emission spectrum. If the fuel is chilly it provides rise to an absorption spectra. If the fuel is produced in affiliation with warmth, it produces an emission spectrum.

Distinction Between Steady Spectrum and Line Spectrum


Steady Spectrum: Steady spectrum is the superimposed picture of each absorption and emission spectra.

Line Spectrum: Line spectrum is both an absorption spectrum (darkish strains in a brilliant background) or an emission spectrum (brilliant strains in the dead of night background).


Steady Spectrum: Steady spectra comprise no observable gaps.

Line Spectrum: There are enormous gaps between strains.


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Steady Spectrum: Continous spectrum comprises all of the wavelengths of a given vary.

Line Spectrum: Line spectrum comprises just a few wavelengths.


Steady Spectrum: Rainbow and black physique radiation are examples of a steady spectrum.

Line Spectrum: Emission spectra of hydrogen and absorption spectra of hydrogen are examples of line spectrum.


The principle distinction between steady spectrum and line spectrum is that line spectra could be seen as both remoted emission strains or absorption strains, with enormous gaps between them, whereas steady spectra don’t comprise gaps and could be produced by superimposing the emission and absorption spectra of the identical component.

Reference:1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Spectrum Definition.” newurbanhabitat.com Schooling. N.p., 07 Aug. 2016. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.2. “Distinction between steady and line spectrum of hydrogen.” Chemistry Stack Trade. N.p., n.d. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.3. “Atomic concept: 1.32 – Steady and line spectra.” IB Chemistry Net. Worldwide Baccalaureate Group, n.d. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.4. Darling, David. “Absorption Spectrum.” David newurbanhabitat.com. N.p., n.d. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.5. Volland, Walt. “Emission Spectroscopy: Ingredient identification.”. N.p., 31 Mar. 2015. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.6. Barnes, Joshua E. “Spectra within the Lab.” Institute for Astronomy. College of Hawaii, n.d. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.7. “What’s Steady Spectrum?” Steady Spectrum. N.p., n.d. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.8. “Emission and absorption spectra.” SIYAVULA. N.p., n.d. Net. 21 Feb. 2017.

Picture Courtesy:1. “Spectral strains en” By Person: Jhausauer – Writer (Public Area) by way of Commons Wikimedia2. “Emission spectrum-Fe” By Person: nilda – Personal work (Public Area) by way of Commons Wikimedia

Difference Between Continuous Spectrum and Line Spectrum

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