Quick Reference

1 (in chemistry) The take up of a gas by a solid or liquid, or the take up of a liquid by a solid. Absorption differs from adsorption in that the absorbed substance permeates the bulk of the absorbing substance.

2 (in physics) The conversion of the energy of electromagnetic radiation, sound, streams of particles, etc., into other forms of energy on passing through a medium. A beam of light, for instance, passing through a medium, may lose intensity because of two effects: scattering of light out of the beam, and absorption of photons by atoms or molecules in the medium. When a photon is absorbed, there is a transition to an excited state.

Subjects: Chemistry.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »