In classical analytical chemistry, absorbance values in Beer's law can theoretically range from 0 to infinity.
As general rule of thumb neither high, nor very low absorbance are used for constructing calibration curves. The reason for avoiding high absorbance is that when absorbance is 2, only 1% light reaches the detector and with 3, only 0.1% light reaches the detector. Analytical chemists were taught to avoid absorbance > 1.5. Low absorbance values are avoided because it hard to distinguish the light beam with and without the cuvet in place. The question then arises how much is the real absorbance and how much is contributed by noise.
Nowadays (= within the last decade), I am seeing UV-Vis spectrophotometers have absorbance ranges from 0 to 3, and some have even more. One day a PhD student showed an absorbance > 5 for a spectra, apparently without even thinking twice on the meaning of absorbance. Similarly, researchers showed an absorbance spectrum with the maximum at absorbance of 3.
My question is this a fundamental flaw in Beer's law that high absorbance values are erroneous or it is limitation in detector technology and the intensity of light sources? Please ignore the chemical reasons for deviations in Beer's law.
Imagine, if we had very high intensity light source, such as xenon arc lamp, instead of a typical deuterium or a tungsten lamp, would we get less error in the absorbance measurements of concentrated solutions? Absorbance is a ratio technique, but the number of photons reaching the detector will be high, even with conc. solutions, with intense light sources.
Can any spectroscopist shed some light on this issue (no pun intended) whether high intensity sources would beneficial in UV-Vis spectrophotometry of concentrated solutions?