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Optical Techniques for the Analysis and Characterization of Chemicals and Materials

  1. David L. Andrews

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap642

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Andrews, D. L. 2005. Optical Techniques for the Analysis and Characterization of Chemicals and Materials. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .

Author Information

  1. University of East Anglia, School of Chemical Sciences, Norwich, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Optical methods are widely used by industry, academia, medicine, and the military for the analysis and characterization of chemicals and materials. Prominent amongst these techniques are measurements based on infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy, molecular fluorescence, and Raman scattering. Microscopy and imaging procedures are also leading features in the analysis of heterogeneous samples, and a variety of laser-based diagnostic methods are applied for specialized applications. In this account, the fundamental and technical issues for optical characterization are first examined, and then each of the major techniques is discussed in detail. Examples range from flame analysis to the determination of protein structures, surface optical nonlinearity, and chiral characterization.


  • spectroscopy;
  • fluorescence;
  • Raman;
  • microscopy;
  • imaging;
  • nonlinear optics;
  • harmonic generation;
  • chirality