Standard Article

Ultraviolet and Visible Absorption Spectrometers

  1. Robert H. Lipson

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap682

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Lipson, R. H. 2009. Ultraviolet and Visible Absorption Spectrometers. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. 353–380.

Author Information

  1. University of Western Ontario, Department of Chemistry, London, ON, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


An overview of spectroscopy fundamentals for atoms and molecules is provided as they pertain to the ultraviolet (UV) and visible spectral regions. Topics include state labels, electronic selection rules, the Born–Oppenheimer approximation, and the Franck–Condon principle. The Beer–Lambert law, chemometrics, derivative spectroscopy, and circular dichroism spectroscopy are explained as are the origins of UV/visible transitions in organic and inorganic compounds as well as solids. Relevant experimental methods and instrumentation such as light sources, monochromators, and detectors, which can be used to record UV/visible absorption spectra, are described. A brief discussion on laser-based techniques, including fluorescence excitation spectroscopy, excitation spectroscopy with mass detection, and cavity ring-down spectroscopy, is also given.


  • Origin of ultraviolet and visible absorptions in atoms, organic and inorganic compounds, and solids;
  • selection rules;
  • Franck–Condon principle;
  • Beer–Lambert law;
  • experimental methods