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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that are exposed to the beam, and that the sounds are in every case due to those rays of the spectrum that are absorbed by the body.

The Spectrophone.—Our experiments upon the range of audibility of different substances in the spectrum have led us to the construction of a new instrument for use in spectrum analysis, which was described and exhibited to the Philosophical Society of Washington last Saturday.[1] The eye-piece of a spectroscope is removed, and sensitive substances are placed in the focal point of the instrument behind an opaque diaphragm containing a slit. These substances are put in communication with the ear by means of a hearing-tube, and thus the instrument is converted into a veritable spectrophone, like that shown in Fig. 13.

Fig. 13.
PSM V19 D346 The spectrophone.jpg

Suppose we smoke the interior of our spectrophonic receiver, and fill the cavity with peroxide of nitrogen gas. We have then a combination that gives us good sounds in all parts of the spectrum (visible and invisible), except the ultra-violet. Now, pass a rapidly-interrupted beam of light through some substance whose absorption spectrum is to be investigated, and bands of sound and silence are observed upon exploring the spectrum, the silent positions corresponding to the absorption bands. Of course, the ear can not for one moment compete with the eye in the examination of the visible part of the spectrum; but in the invisible part beyond the red, where

  1. "Proceedings of the Philosophical Society" of Washington, April 10, 1881.