8.13-14 | Fall 2016 | Undergraduate

Experimental Physics I & II "Junior Lab"


Mössbauer Spectroscopy


Mössbauer spectroscopy experiment equipment.

The Mössbauer effect and some of its applications in ultra-high resolution, E/ΔE ~ 1012, gamma-ray spectroscopy are explored. The Zeeman splittings, quadrupole splittings, and chemical shifts of the 14 keV Mössbauer gamma-ray line emitted in the recoilless decay of the first excited state of the 57Fe nucleus are measured in iron and in various iron compounds and alloys.

From the data and knowledge of the magnetic moment of the 57Fe ground state one determines the magnetic moment of the first excited state, and the strengths of the magnetic field at the sites of the iron nuclei in metallic iron, Fe2O3, and Fe3O4 .

The natural line widths of the 14 keV transitions are determined from measurements of the absorption line profiles in sodium ferrocyanide absorbers of various thicknesses. Relativistic time dilation is demonstrated by a measurement of the temperature coefficient of the energy of the 14 keV absorption lines in enriched iron.

Lab Guide

Mössbauer Spectroscopy Lab Guide (PDF - 1MB)


De Benedetti, S. “The Mössbauer Effect.” Scientific American (April 1960): 72-80.

De Benedetti, S., G. Lang, and R. Ingalls. “Electric Quadrupole Splitting and Nuclear Volume Effect in the Ion of 57Fe.” Physical Review Letters 6, no. 4 (1961): 60-62.

Ruby, S. L., L. M. Epstein, and K. H. Sun. “Mössbauer Effect in Ferrocyanide.” Review of Scientific Instruments 31 (1960): 580.

Hofstadter, Robert. Nobel Prize Lecture, “The Electron-scattering Method and its Application to the Structure of Nuclei and Nucleons.” (1961).

Mössbauer, Rudolph Ludwig. Nobel Prize Lecture, “Recoilless Nuclear Resonance Absorption of Gamma Radiation.” (1961).

Boyle, A. J. F., and H. E. Hall. “The Mössbauer Effect.” Reports on the Progress of Physics 25, no. 1 (1962): 441-524.

Frauenfelder, Hans. The Mössbauer Effect: A Review with a Collection of Reprints. New York, NY: W. A. Benjamin, Inc., 1962.

Kistner, O. C., and A. W. Sunyar. “Evidence for Quadrupole Interaction of Fe57 and Influence of Chemical Binding on Nuclear Gamma-Ray Energy.” The Physical Review Letters 4, no. 8 (1960): 412-415. (Note: Better copy than the one in Frauenfelder.)

Preston, R. S., S. S. Hanna, and J. Heberle. “Mössbauer Effect in Metallic Iron.” The Physical Review 128, no. 5 (1962): 2207-2218.

King, J., ed. Mössbauer Effect: Selected Reprints. New York: American Institute of Physics for the American Association of Physics Teachers, 1963.

Selected Resource

Mössbauer Spectroscopy Schematic (PDF)

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2016
Learning Resource Types
co_present Instructor Insights