Perkin Elmer model 12C infrared spectrophotometer, 1945.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Infrared spectrometry is a means of analysing the composition of organic substances. A sample is bombarded with infrared radiation, causing the atoms within it to vibrate. The frequencies of this vibration are characteristic of the substance present, which enables it to be identified. Like many early spectrophotometers, the Perkin Elmer model 12 was a point by point spectrometer and could not produce a continuous spectrum. This particular model was presented to the pioneering British infrared spectroscopist Profesor Harold Thompson of Oxford by Richard S Perkin of Perkin Elmer in 1945. Thompson later became President of the FA and was knighted for his services to football.