log eel where I0 is the intensity of the incident light, I is the intensity of the transmitted light, e is the molar extinction coefficient (in units of liters per mole-centimeter), c is the concentration of the absorbing species (in moles per liter), and l is the path length of the light-absorbing sample (in centimeters). The Lambert-Beer law assumes that the incident light is parallel and monochromatic (of a single wavelength) and that the solvent and solute molecules are randomly oriented. The expression log (I0/I) is called the absorbance, designated A.

It is important to note that each successive millimeter of path length of absorbing solution in a 1.0 cm cell absorbs not a constant amount but a constant fraction of the light that is incident upon it. However, with an absorbing layer of fixed path length, the ab-sorbance, A, is directly proportional to the concentration of the absorbing solute.

The molar extinction coefficient varies with the nature of the absorbing compound, the solvent, and the wavelength, and also with pH if the light-absorbing species is in equilibrium with an ionization state that has different absorbance properties.

FIGURE 1 The principal components of a spectrophotometer. A light source emits light along a broad spectrum, then the monochromator selects and transmits light of a particular wavelength. The monochromatic light passes through the sample in a cuvette of path length l and is absorbed by the sample in proportion to the concentration of the absorbing species. The transmitted light is measured by a detector.

Intensity of incident light

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