Stark Einstein law

Stark Einstein law

The Stark Einstein law is named after German-born physicists Johannes Stark and Albert Einstein, who independently formulated the law between 1908 and 1913. It is also known as the photochemical equivalence law or photoequivalence law. In essence it says that every photon that is absorbed will cause a (primary) chemical or physical reaction.

The photon is a quantum of radiation, or one unit of radiation. Therefore, this is a single unit of EM radiation that is equal to Planck’s constant (h) times the frequency of light. This quantity is symbolized by γ, hν, or ħω.

The photochemical equivalence law is also restated as follows: for every mole of a substance that reacts, an equivalent mole of quanta of light are absorbed. The formula is:

 \Delta E_{mol} = N_A h \nu

where NA is Avogadro’s number.

The photochemical equivalence law applies to the part of a light-induced reaction that is referred to as the primary process (i.e. absorption or fluorescence).

In most photochemical reactions the primary process is usually followed by so-called secondary photochemical processes that are normal interactions between reactants not requiring absorption of light. As a result such reactions do not appear to obey the one quantum–one molecule reactant relationship.

The law is further restricted to conventional photochemical processes using light sources with moderate intensities; high-intensity light sources such as those used in flash photolysis and in laser experiments are known to cause so-called biphotonic processes; i.e., the absorption by a molecule of a substance of two photons of light.

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