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Beer-Lambert Law

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    The absorbance of an electronic transition depends on two external factors.

    1. The absorbance is directly proportional to the concentration (\(c\)) of the solution of the sample used in the experiment.

    \[A ∝ c\]

    2. The absorbance is directly proportional to the length of the light path (\(l\)), which is equal to the width of the cuvette.


    \[A ∝ l\]

    Combining the two relationships,

    \[A ∝ cl\]

    This proportionality can be converted into an equation by including a constant.

    \[A = εcl\]

    This formula is known as the Beer-Lambert Law, and the constant \(ε\) is called molar absorptivity or molar extinction coefficient and is a measure of the probability of the electronic transition. The larger the molar absorptivity, the more probable the electronic transition. In UV spectroscopy, the concentration of the sample solution is measured in mol L-1 and the length of the light path in cm. Thus, given that absorbance is unitless, the units of molar absorptivity are L mol-1 cm-1. However, since the units of molar absorptivity is always the above, it is customarily reported without units.

    This page titled Beer-Lambert Law is shared under a All Rights Reserved (used with permission) license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gamini Gunawardena via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.