Project Details Spectroscopy - Revision of the Orange Book chapter 5

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
01 October 2017
End Date: 
04 August 2021


The objective is to deliver PAC recommendations for terms across all areas of spectroscopy for onward review, amendment and inclusion in the new version (4th edition) of the Orange Book. Over the past year three groups have been assembled that can respectively cover nuclear, atomic and molecular spectroscopy. These groups are currently building a list of terms for definition and are beginning to populate these with draft text.

(Orange Book online version (1997) is accessible at

> Orange Book (4th edition) draft content: project 2012-005-1-500


The Orange Book provides consensual terminology that enables analytical scientists to communicate with a common understanding of the language they are using to describe techniques and processes.
Spectroscopic methods are much used in laboratory settings and the technologies available have developed at pace over the last two decades to provide a wide and diverse tool set for the identification, characterisation and quantification of chemical / biological forms. An accepted vocabulary for common and specialist techniques and methods is thus required for the analytical community to effectively converse through papers, publications, reports, standards and presentations: this is the key objective of the Orange Book and the chapter on spectroscopy.

Spectroscopy is broad in its coverage and to organise effectively we have broken down the chapter in to methods that explore transitions at the nuclear, atomic and molecular levels. Expert groups have been assembled in each of these areas and draft text is emerging that draws on the collective knowledge of these individuals and on existing literature. However, before submitting recommendations, group discussions are required to achieve initial consensus on all related terms.


Oct 2017 update – We aim to hold group discussions as add-on meetings around 3 international conferences:
1. 2018 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry, Amelia Island, Florida, US, 7-13 January 2018
2. Practical Applications of NMR in Industry Conference (PANIC), La Jolla, CA, USA, 4-8 March 2018
3. The Spring SciX 2018 meeting which will be held 17-10 April, at the Technology and Innovation Centre – University of Strathclyde.

The outputs of these meetings will be used as the preliminary recommendations for further review through the IUPAC approval process.

October 2019 update – The provisional recommendations titled “GLOSSARY OF METHODS AND TERMS USED IN ANALYTICAL SPECTROSCOPY” is available for public review till 29 February 2020.

Apr 2021 update – Mss in final stage of production and to appear in PAC.

July 2021 update – REC published: Goenaga Infante, Heidi, Warren, John, Chalmers, John, Dent, Geoffrey, Todoli, Jose Luis, Collingwood, Joanna, Telling, Neil, Resano, Martin, Limbeck, Andreas, Schoenberger, Torsten, Hibbert, D. Brynn, LeGresley, Adam, Adams, Kristie and Craston, Derek. “Glossary of methods and terms used in analytical spectroscopy (IUPAC Recommendations 2019)” PAC, AOP 14 July 2021;

in print Pure and Applied Chemistry, vol. 93, no. 6, 2021, pp. 647-776.

project completed 

Page last updated 5 Aug 2021