Spectroscopy was originally the study of the interaction between radiation and matter as a function of wavelength (λ). Historically, spectroscopy referred to the use of visible light dispersed according to its wavelength, e.g. by a prism. Later the concept was expanded greatly to comprise any measurement of a quantity as a function of either wavelength or frequency. Thus, it also can refer to a response to an alternating field or varying frequency (ν). A further extension of the scope of the definition added energy (E) as a variable, once the very close relationship E = hν for photons was realized (h is the Planck constant). A plot of the response as a function of wavelength-or more commonly frequency-is referred to as a spectrum; see also spectral linewidth.
Spectrometry is the spectroscopic technique used to assess the concentration or amount of a given chemical (atomic, molecular, or ionic) species. In this case, the instrument that performs such measurements is a spectrometer, spectrophotometer, or spectrograph.
Spectroscopy/spectrometry is often used in physical and analytical chemistry for the identification of substances through the spectrum emitted from or absorbed by them.