Concept

# Molar absorption coefficient

Résumé
In chemistry, the molar absorption coefficient or molar attenuation coefficient (ε) is a measurement of how strongly a chemical species absorbs, and thereby attenuates, light at a given wavelength. It is an intrinsic property of the species. The SI unit of molar absorption coefficient is the square metre per mole (), but in practice, quantities are usually expressed in terms of M−1⋅cm−1 or L⋅mol−1⋅cm−1 (the latter two units are both equal to ). In older literature, the cm2/mol is sometimes used; 1 M−1⋅cm−1 equals 1000 cm2/mol. The molar absorption coefficient is also known as the molar extinction coefficient and molar absorptivity, but the use of these alternative terms has been discouraged by the IUPAC. The absorbance of a material that has only one absorbing species also depends on the pathlength and the concentration of the species, according to the Beer–Lambert law where ε is the molar absorption coefficient of that material; c is the molar concentration of those species; l is the path length. Different disciplines have different conventions as to whether absorbance is decadic (10-based) or Napierian (e-based), i.e., defined with respect to the transmission via common logarithm (log10) or a natural logarithm (ln). The molar absorption coefficient is usually decadic. When ambiguity exists, it is important to indicate which one applies. When there are N absorbing species in a solution, the overall absorbance is the sum of the absorbances for each individual species i: The composition of a mixture of N absorbing species can be found by measuring the absorbance at N wavelengths (the values of the molar absorption coefficient for each species at these wavelengths must also be known). The wavelengths chosen are usually the wavelengths of maximum absorption (absorbance maxima) for the individual species. None of the wavelengths may be an isosbestic point for a pair of species.
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