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Absorption and Transmission of light and the Beer-Lambert Law

Lecture 21

Review of L-20
Ring wave functions (circumference )

s ,n ( x ) = c ,n ( x ) =
c ,0 =
Energy levels

2 2

sin cos

2nx 2nx

n =1,2,3,

( n =0 )

n 2h 2 En = 2me 2

Review of L-20
Energy levels in a ring molecule

25h 2 2me 2 16h 2 2me 2 9h 2 2me 2 4h 2 2me 2 h2 2me

n=5 n=4 n=3 n=2 n=1 cos solution


sin solution

Absorption and Transmission

Consider a beam of light on a material
It can be scattered, absorbed, or transmitted

incident light absorbed transmitted

Transmitted light Absorbed light


Light emerges propagating in the same direction as the incident light Energy from light is absorbed in the volume of the material

Scattered light
Light emerges in a different direction from the incident light

Absorption and Transmission

Absorption and scattering take place at the molecular and atomic level
For energy from light to be absorbed, it must match available energy states in the atoms or molecules, or it can scatter from the molecule, atom, or electrons, (like billiard balls)

ex. Promotion of an e to an excited state


Cross sections
Light incident upon a material may or may not be removed from the incident beam Probability that the light is removed from the incident beam is related to the cross section
Cross section is like an effective area of the atom or molecule can be larger or smaller than the geometric cross section takes into account the absorption and scattering of light B2 Stealth bomber of the US has a radar cross section smaller than that of hummingbird

Beer-Lambert Law
Consider light incident on a material with area A and thickness dx and concentration of molecules C ( i.e. # / cm3 ) Number of molecules illuminated by light of incident intensity Ix is CAdx Total effective area that the molecules present is CAdx Probability of light being absorbed or scattered out of the beam in thickness dx is thickness dx dI CA



area A

where dIx is the change in intensity across dx

intensity Ix

Beer-Lambert Law
dI x CA We have = dx Ix A
Now integrate both sides

dI x = I0 I x

x 0


I ln (I ) ln (I 0 ) = ln = Cx I0 I = I 0e

= I 0e

The coefficient =C is the linear attenuation coefficient

If we ignore scattering, we can equate the linear attenuation coefficient with the linear absorption coefficient

Beer-Lambert Law
The Beer-Lambert Law

I = I 0e


= I 0e

The intensity of light decreases exponentially with depth in the material Linear attenuation coefficient usually expressed in units of cm1 is a function of wavelength =()
So Beer-Lambert Law is also a function of , i.e.

I ( ) = I 0 ( ) e

( ) x


I ( ) Transmittance is defined as T = I 0 ( )
A quantity called absorbance A is defined as

A = log

A = x log(e ) = 0.4343 x

I 0 ( ) I 0 ( ) = log I ( ) I 0 ( )e

= log(e

This definition includes both absorption and scattering A further definition is the extinction coefficient = 0.4343

A = Cx

Absorbance and the extinction coefficient

Absorbance is useful since it can be summed for layers of different materials, each with their own x, C, , etc.

Atot = A1 + A2 + A3 + Atot = 1C1 x1 + 2C2 x2 +

A specialized device to measure the intensity of light as a function of wavelength is the spectrophotometer
Come in various varieties absorption, fluorescence, light source
tungsten lamp produces white light +UV+IR

diffraction grating extracts a very narrow wavelength band



measures light intensity compared to light incident on sample interchangeable

Absorption spectrum
Absorption spectra for chlorophyll