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Chapter 14 APPLICATION OF ULTRAVIOLET/VISIBLE MOLECULAR ABSORPTION SPECTROMETRY Absorption measurements based upon ultraviolet and visible radiation find.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 14 APPLICATION OF ULTRAVIOLET/VISIBLE MOLECULAR ABSORPTION SPECTROMETRY Absorption measurements based upon ultraviolet and visible radiation find."— Presentation transcript:

Absorption measurements based upon ultraviolet and visible radiation find widespread application for the identification and determination of myriad inorganic and organic species. Molecular ultraviolet/visible absorption methods are perhaps the most widely used of all quantitative analysis techniques in chemical and clinical laboratories throughout the world.

Molar absorptivities range from zero up to a maximum on the order of 105 are observed. The magnitude of  depends upon the probability for an energy-absorbing transition to occur. Peaks having molar absorptivities less than about 103 are classified as being of low intensity. They result from so-called forbidden transitions, which have probabilities of occurrence that are less than 0.01.

3 ABSORBING SPECIES The absorption of ultraviolet or visible radiation by a molecular species M can be considered to be a two-step process, excitation M + h M* The lifetime of the excited species is brief (10-8 to 10-9 s). Relaxation involves conversion of the excitation energy to heat. M* M + heat The absorption of ultraviolet or visible radiation generally results from excitation of bonding electrons.

4 Electronic Transitions
There are three types of electronic transitions. The three include transitions involving: (1) , , and n electrons (2) d and f electrons (3) charge transfer electrons.

5 Types of Absorbing Electrons
The electrons that contribute to absorption by a molecule are: (1) those that participate directly in bond formation between atoms; (2) nonbonding or unshared outer electrons that are largely localized about such atoms as oxygen, the halogens, sulfur, and nitrogen. The molecular orbitals associated with single bonds are designated as sigma () orbitals, and the corresponding electrons are  electrons.

6 Types of Absorbing Electrons
The double bond in a molecule contains two types of molecular orbitals: a sigma () orbital and a pi () molecular orbital. Pi orbitals are formed by the parallel overlap of atomic p orbitals. In addition to  and  electrons, many compounds contain nonbonding electrons. These unshared electrons are designated by the symbol n.

7  *, n *, n *, and  *. Energy
The energies for the various types of molecular orbitals differ significantly. The energy level of a nonbonding electron lies between the energy levels of the bonding and the antibonding  and  orbitals. Electronic transitions among certain of the energy levels can be brought about by the absorption of radiation. Four types of transitions are possible:  *, n *, n *, and  *.

8 * * n   Antibonding Antibonding n *  * n *  * Nonbonding
Energy Bonding

9  * Transition An electron in a bonding  orbital of a molecule is excited to the corresponding antibonding orbital by the absorption of radiation. The energy required to induce a  * transition is large. Methane can undergo only  * transitions, exhibits an absorption maximum at 125 nm. Absorption maxima due to  * transitions are never observed in the ordinarily accessible ultraviolet region.

10 n * Transitions Saturated compounds containing atoms with unshared electrons are capable of n * transitions. These transitions require less energy than the  * type and can be brought about by radiation in the region of between 150 and 250 nm, with most absorption peaks appearing below 200 nm. The molar absorptivities are low to intermediate in magnitude and range between 100 and 3000 L cm-1 mol -1.


12 n * and  * Transitions
Most applications of absorption spectroscopy are based upon transitions for n or  electrons to the * excited state because the energies required for these processes bring the absorption peaks into an experimentally convenient spectral region (200 to 700 nm). Both transitions require the presence of an unsaturated functional group to provide the  orbitals. The molar absorptivities for peaks associated with excitation to the n, * state are generally low and ordinarily range from 10 and 100 L cm-1 mol -1; values for  * transitions, on the other hand, normally fall in the range between 1000 and 10,000.


14 Effect of Conjugation of Chromophores
 electrons are considered to be further delocalized by conjugation; the orbitals involve four (or more) atomic centers. The effect of this delocalization is to lower the energy level of the * orbital and give it less antibonding character. Absorption maxima are shifted to longer wavelengths as a consequence. Conjugation of chromophores, has a profound effect on spectral properties. 1,3-butadiene, CH2=CHCH=CH2, has a strong absorption band that is displaced to a longer wavelength by 20 nm compared with the corresponding peak for an unconjugated diene.


16 Absorption Involving d and f Electrons
Most transition-metal ions absorb in the ultraviolet or visible region of the spectrum. For the lanthanide and actinide series, the absorption process results from electronic transition of 4f and 5f electrons; for elements of the first and second transition-metal series, the 3d and 4d electrons are responsible.


18 Absorption by Lanthanide and Actinide Ions
The ions of most lanthanide and actinide elements absorb in the ultraviolet and visible regions. Their spectra consist of narrow, well-defined, and characteristic absorption peaks. The transitions responsible for absorption by elements of the lanthanide series appear to involve the various energy levels of 4f electrons, while it is the 5f electrons of the actinide series that interact with radiation.


20 Absorption by Elements of the First and
Second Transition-Metal Series The ions and complexes of the first two transition series tend to absorb visible radiation in one if not all of their oxidation states. The absorption bands are often broad and are strongly influenced by chemical environmental factors. The spectral characteristics of transition metals involve electronic transitions among the various energy levels of d orbitals.

21 Charge-Transfer Absorption
Species that exhibit charge-transfer absorption are of particular importance because their molar absorptivities are very large (max > 10,000). Thus, these complexes provide a highly sensitive means for detecting and determining absorbing species. Complexes exhibit charge transfer absorption are called charge-transfer complexes. In order for a complex to exhibit a charge-transfer spectrum, it is necessary for one of its components to have electron-donor characteristics and for the other component to have electron-acceptor properties. Absorption of radiation then involves transfer of an electron from the donor to an orbital that is largely associated with the acceptor.


Methods of Plotting Spectral Data: Several different types of spectral plots are encountered in qualitative molecular spectroscopy. The ordinate is most commonly percent transmittance, absorbance, log absorbance, or molar absorptivity. The abscissa is usually wavelength or wavenumber, although frequency is occasionally employed.

24 Solvents: In choosing a solvent, consideration must be given not only to its transparence, but also to its possible effects upon the absorbing system. Polar solvents such as water, alcohols, esters, and ketones tend to obliterate spectral fine structure arising from vibrational effects; spectra that approach those of the gas phase are more likely to be observed in nonpolar solvents such as hydrocarbons. In addition, the positions of absorption maxima are influenced by the nature of the solvent. Clearly, the same solvent must be used when comparing absorption spectra for identification purposes.



Absorption spectroscopy is one of the most useful and widely used tools available to the chemist for quantitative analysis. Important characteristics of spectrophotometric method include: (1) wide applicability to both organic and inorganic systems, (2) typical sensitivities of 10-4 to 10-5 M, (3) moderate to high selectivity, (4) good accuracy, (5) ease and convenience of data acquisition.

28 Scope: The applications of quantitative, ultraviolet/visible absorption methods not only are numerous, but also touch upon every field in which quantitative chemical information is required. It has been estimated that in the field of health alone, 95% of all quantitative determinations are performed by ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometry and this number represents well over 3,000,000 daily tests carried out in the United States.

29 Procedural Details: The first steps in a photometric or spectrophotometric analysis involve the establishment of working conditions and the preparation of a calibration curve relating concentration to absorbance. Selection of Wavelength: Spectrophotometric absorbance measurements are ordinarily made at a wavelength corresponding to an absorption peak because the change in absorbance per unit of concentration is greatest at this point; the maximum sensitivity is thus realized.

30 Variables That Influence absorbance: Common variables that influence the absorption spectrum of a substance include the nature of the solvent, the pH of the solution, the temperature, electrolyte concentrations, and the presence of interfering substances. Cleaning and Handling of Cells: Accurate spectrophotometric analysis requires the use of good-quality, matched cells. These should be regularly calibrated against one another to detect differences that can arise from scratches, etching, and wear.

31 Determination of the Relationship Between Absorbance and Concentration: It is necessary to prepare a calibration curve from a series of standard solutions that bracket the concentration range expected for the samples. Ideally, calibration standards should approximate the composition of the samples to be analyzed not only with respect to the analyte concentration but also with regard to the concentrations of the other species in the sample matrix in order to minimize the effects of various components of the sample on the measured absorbance.

32 The Standard Addition Method: The standard addition method involves adding one or more increments of a standard solution to sample aliquots of the same size. Each solution is then diluted to a fixed volume before measuring its absorbance. It is possible to perform a standard addition analysis using only two increments of sample. Here, a single addition of Vs mL of standard would be added to one of the two samples. This approach is based upon the equation:


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