The nature of light and its interaction with matter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This chapter provides a physical background to the following ones. It describes the particle and wave properties of light and the diffraction, polarization, refraction, reflection, and absorption of light and statistics of photon emission and absorption. Planck’s law of heat radiation is described in various mathematical and graphical ways. One section is devoted to a simplified description of the propagation of light in absorbing and scattering media. The final sections are devoted to interactions between light and matter: spectra of and energy levels in atoms and molecules, the relation between absorption and emission spectra, the molecular geometry of absorption and emission, and the transfer of electronic excitation energy between molecules, including the Förster mechanism, triplet states, and the photobiologically important properties of the dioxygen molecule


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • particle, wave, interference, diffraction, polarization, photon statistics, heat radiation, refraction, reflection, scattering, spectrum, quantum, energy transfer, Förster mechanism, surface plansmon, coherence, orbital angular momentum, singlet oxygen
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotobiology: The Science of Light and Life (3rd ed.)
EditorsLars Olof Björn
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-1467-8 (print), 978-1-4939-1468-5 (eBook)
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch