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Absorption in EM Wave

Presented by

Pranava Swaroopa
In physics, Absorption of electromagnetic radiation is the way in
which the energy of a photon is taken up by matter, typically the
electrons of an atom.
Thus, the electromagnetic energy is transformed into internal energy
of the absorber, for example thermal energy.
The reduction in intensity of a light wave propagating through a
medium by absorption of a part of its photons is often called
Usually, the absorption of waves does not depend on their intensity
(linear absorption), although in certain conditions (usually, in
optics), the medium changes its transparency dependently on the
intensity of waves going through, and saturable absorption(or
nonlinear absorption) occurs.
What is Attenuation and Saturable
In physics, Attenuation (in some contexts also called
Extinction) is the gradual loss in intensity of any kind of
flux through a medium
In Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications,
attenuation affects the propagation of waves and
signals in electrical circuits, in optical fibers, and in air
(radio waves).
Attenuation decreases the intensity of electromagnetic
radiation due to absorption or scattering of photons.
The primary causes of attenuation in matter are the
photoelectric effect, compton scattering, and, for
photon energies of above 1.022 MeV, pair production.
Saturable absorption is a property of materials where
the absorption of light decreases with increasing light
At sufficiently high incident light intensity, atoms in the
ground state of a saturable absorber material become
excited into an upper energy state at such a rate that
there is insufficient time for them to decay back to the
ground state before the ground state becomes
depleted, and the absorption subsequently saturates.
Saturable absorbers are useful in laser cavities.
Key Parameters are Wavelength and Saturation
response and fluence
Beer Amberts law
The BeerLambert law, also known as Beer's law, the
LambertBeer law, or the BeerLambertBouguer law
relates the attenuation of light to the properties of the
material through which the light is traveling.
The law is commonly applied to chemical analysis
measurements and used in understanding attenuation in
physical optics, for photons, neutrons or rarefied gases.
In mathematical physics, this law arises as a solution of
the BGK equation
Illustration of Beer Ambert
The BeerLambert law can be expressed in terms of attenuation coefficient,
but in this case is better called Lambert's law since amount concentration,
from Beer's law, is hidden inside the attenuation coefficient.
The (Napierian) attenuation coefficient and the decadic attenuation
coefficient 10 = /ln 10 of a material sample are related to its number
densities and amount concentrations as

respectively, by definition of attenuation cross section and molar attenuation

coefficient. Then the BeerLambert law becomes

In case of uniform attenuation, these relations become

Quantifying Absorption
There are a number of ways to quantify how quickly and effectively radiation is absorbed in
a certain medium, for example:
The absorption coefficient, and some closely related derived quantities:
The attenuation coefficient, which is sometimes but not always synonymous with the
absorption coefficient
Molar absorptivity, also called "molar extinction coefficient", which is the absorption
coefficient divided by molarity (see also BeerLambert law). Etc..
Penetration depth and skin effect,
Propagation constant, attenuation constant, phase constant, and complex wavenumber,
Complex refractive index and extinction coefficient,
Complex dielectric constant,
Electrical resistivity and conductivity.
Absorbance (also called "optical density") and optical depth (also called "optical thickness")
are two related measures
All these quantities measure, at least to some extent, how well a medium absorbs radiation.
However, practitioners of different fields and techniques tend to conventionally use different
quantities drawn from the list above.
Measuring Absorption
The absorbance of an object quantifies how much of the
incident light is absorbed by it (instead of being reflected
or refracted).
This may be related to other properties of the object
through the BeerLambert law.
Precise measurements of the absorbance at many
wavelengths allow the identification of a substance via
absorption spectroscopy, where a sample is illuminated
from one side, and the intensity of the light that exits
from the sample in every direction is measured.
A few examples of absorption are ultravioletvisible
spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, and X-ray
absorption spectroscopy.
Rough plot of Earth's atmospheric transmittance (or opacity) to various wavelengths of
electromagnetic radiation, including visible light.
Understanding and measuring the absorption of electromagnetic
radiation has a variety of applications.
Here are a few examples:
In meteorology and climatology, global and local temperatures depend in
part on the absorption of radiation by atmospheric gases (such as in the
greenhouse effect) and land and ocean surfaces
In medicine, X-rays are absorbed to different extents by different tissues
(bone in particular), which is the basis for X-ray imaging..
In chemistry and materials science, because different materials and
molecules will absorb radiation to different extents at different
frequencies, which allows for material identification.
In optics, sunglasses, colored filters, dyes, and other such materials are
designed specifically with respect to which visible wavelengths they
absorb, and in what proportions.
In biology, photosynthetic organisms require that light of the appropriate
wavelengths be absorbed within the active area of chloroplasts, so that
the light energy can be converted into chemical energy within sugars and
other molecules.
Absorption is a process where EM wave energy is coupled
to water or other impurities in the medium.
This is more relevant for optical signals.
EM wave is treated as photons in the optical domain.
The photon energy is transferred to an electron or atom.
This is known as absorption.
Absorption leads to attenuation. But attenuation can be
due to multiple factors.
In simple terms ; Attenuation = absorption + scattering.
It describes the total gradual loss of signal strength in a
particular medium (glass, water, air etc).
Attenuation is related to the attenuation/extinction
coefficient (alpha) in the Beer-Lambert law.