The interaction of a molecular species with electromagnetic fields can cause transitions to occur among the available molecular energy levels (electronic, vibrational, rotational, and nuclear spin). Collisions among molecular species likewise can cause transitions to occur. Time-dependent perturbation theory and the methods of molecular dynamics can be employed to treat such transitions.
Thumbnail: Energy diagram illustrating the Franck–Condon principle applied to the solvation of chromophores. The parabolic potential curves symbolize the interaction energy between the chromophores and the solvent. The Gaussian curves represent the distribution of this interaction energy. Image used with permission (CC -BY-SA 3.0; Mark Somoza)