In chemistry, absorption is a physical or chemical phenomenon or a process in which atoms, molecules or ions enter some bulk phase – gas, liquid or solid material.


The process of one material (absorbate) being retained by another (absorbent); this may be the physical solution of a gas, liquid, or solid in a liquid, attachment of molecules of a gas, vapour, liquid, or dissolved substance to a solid surface by physical forces, etc. In spectrophotometry, absorption of light at characteristic wavelengths or bands of wavelengths is used to identify the chemical nature of molecules, atoms or ions and to measure the concentrations of these species.


IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). Online version (2019-) created by S. J. Chalk. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8.