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As indicated by the Beer-Lambert equation, greater sensitivity will be achieved with a longer path length.

In some applications where the substance of interest is an atmospheric pollutant, the light beam is simply shot through open air (usually reflecting on a mirror) before returning to the instrument for analysis. If the light source happens to be a laser, the distance may be quite large one such analyzer I saw in industry has a path length of a quarter-mile (1320 feet), to better measure extremely low concentrations of a gas!