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Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy

Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy or ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry (UV-Vis or UV/Vis) refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible spectral region. This means it uses light in the visible and adjacent (near-UV and near-infrared [NIR]) ranges. The absorption or reflectance in the visible range directly affects the perceived color of the chemicals involved. In this region of the electromagnetic spectrum, molecules undergo electronic transitions. This technique is complementary to fluorescence spectroscopy, in that fluorescence deals with transitions from the excited state to the ground state, while absorption measures transitions from the ground state to the excited state.


  • The wavelength necessary to effect the π → π* transition in a conjugated molecule depends on the energy gap between HOMO and LUMO, which in turn depends on the nature of the conjugated system. Thus, by measuring the UV spectrum of an unknown, we can derive structural information about the nature of any conjugated π electron system present in a molecule.
    • John McMurry, Organic Chemistry 8th ed. (2012), Ch. 14. Conjugated Compounds and Ultraviolet Spectroscopy

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