Photochemistry - Homework Help - K-12 Grade Level, College Level Chemistry

Introduction of Photochemistry:

Photochemistry is the study of chemical reactions that continues with the absorption of light by molecules or atoms. Well known instances of photochemistry which includes the degradation of plastics, photosynthesis and the formation of vitamin D with sunlight.


Light is a category of electromagnetic radiation that is a source of energy. The law of Grotthuss-Draper describes that light have to be absorbed by a chemical substance in order for a photochemical reaction to take place. For every photon of light that is absorbed by chemical system, for a photochemical reaction, no more than 1 molecule is activated, as explained by the quantum yield.

Chemical reactions take place only while a molecule is provided the essential "activation energy". An easy illustration can be the combustion of gasoline into water and carbon dioxide. Here, in the form of heat or a spark reaction activation energy is provided. In the example of the photochemical reactions light provides the activation energy. Simplistically, for providing the activation energy required for many reactions, light is the one method. If laser light is used, it may be possible to selectively excite a molecule so as to produce a desired vibrational and electronic state. Similarly, the emission from a specific state may be monitored selectively, providing a measure of population of that state. If chemical system is at low pressure that allows scientists to monitor the energy distribution of the products of a chemical reaction before the dissimilarities in energy have been smeared out and averaged by repeated collisions.


Photochemistry is involved in many important processes. The first instance is photosynthesis, in which most plants make use of the solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and disposing of oxygen as a side-product. Humans rely on the photochemistry for the formation of vitamin D.

Photochemistry may also be extremely destructive. Medicine bottles are frequently made with the darkened glass to stop the drugs from photo degradation. A pervasive reaction is generation of singlet oxygen by photosensitized reactions of triplet oxygen. Usual photosensitizer includes methylene blue and tetraphenylporphyrin. The resulting singlet oxygen is aggressive oxidant that is able of converting C-H bonds into C-OH groups. In the photodynamic therapy, light is used to destroy tumors by the action of singlet oxygen.

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