I am wondering if there is anything in the literature that can tell me what is the molar absorptivity (i.e. molar extinction coefficient) of aqueous sulfuric acid at a given wavelength (in my case, I am interested in $\lambda_\mathrm{max}(\mathrm{ferroin}) = \pu{508 nm}$).

In addition, is there a good resource in the literature to look up these values for common substances? I haven't yet been able to find anything of the sort.


1 Answer 1


I never ran into uv absorption data for (aqueous) sulfuric acid and I doubt that there is any absorption at $\lambda$ = 508 nm.

There is an old paper by K. F. Palmer and D. Williams in Appl. Optics, 1975,14, 208-219 (DOI) on the optical properties of sulfuric acid droplets with respects to the composition of clouds on Venus and a more recent one from the group of J. B. Burkholder in Phys. Chem. A, 2003, 107, 1112-1118 (DOI) on Vibrational and Electronic Spectroscopy of Sulfuric Acid Vapor. Both, while interesting and therefore mentioned here, are not relevant for your experiment.

My suggestion is simple:

Measure your ferroin sample in aqueous sulfuric acid (or whatever solvent is required) and use the same solvent as a blank. Most spectrometers will automatically perform the subtraction of the blank from your sample!

Concerning a (free) source of UV-vis absorption data, there is the NIST Chemistry WebBook.


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