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Branch of spectroscopy dealing with measurement of radiant energy transmitted or reflected by a body as a function of wavelength. The measurement is usually compared to that transmitted or reflected by a system that serves as a standard. In chemistry and physics, different types of spectrophotometers cover wide ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum: ultraviolet (UV), visible light, infrared (IR), or microwave. UV spectrophotometry is particularly useful in detecting and quantifying colourless substances in solution. IR spectrophotometry is used mostly to study the molecular structures of complex organic compounds. In astronomy and astrophysics, spectrophotometric studies also include the X-ray and gamma ray ranges of the spectrum. See alsocolorimetry.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on spectrophotometry, visit Britannica.com.