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Bathochromic shift (from Greek βαθύς bathys, "deep"; and χρῶμα chrōma, "color"; hence less common alternate spelling "bathychromic") is a change of spectral band position in the absorption, reflectance, transmittance, or emission spectrum of a molecule to a longer wavelength (lower frequency).[1] Because the red color in the visible spectrum has a longer wavelength than most other colors, the effect is also commonly called a red shift.

Hypsochromic shift is a change to shorter wavelength (higher frequency).


It can occur because of a change in environmental conditions: for example, a change in solvent polarity will result in solvatochromism.[2]

A series of structurally-related molecules in a substitution series can also show a bathochromic shift. Bathochromic shift is a phenomenon seen in molecular spectra, not atomic spectra; it is thus more common to speak of the movement of the peaks in the spectrum rather than lines.

\( \Delta \lambda =\lambda _{{{\mathrm {observed}}}}^{{{\mathrm {state2}}}}-\lambda _{{{\mathrm {observed}}}}^{{{\mathrm {state1}}}} \) where \( \lambda \) is the wavelength of the spectral peak of interest and \( \lambda _{{{\mathrm {observed}}}}^{{{\mathrm {state2}}}}>\lambda _{{{\mathrm {observed}}}}^{{{\mathrm {state1}}}} \)


Bathochromic shift is typically demonstrated using a spectrophotometer, colorimeter, or spectroradiometer.
See also



Kamlet, Mortimer J.; Taft, R. W. (1976). "The solvatochromic comparison method. I. The .beta.-scale of solvent hydrogen-bond acceptor (HBA) basicities". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 98 (2): 377–383. doi:10.1021/ja00418a009. ISSN 0002-7863.
Buncel, Erwin; Rajagopal, Srinivasan (1990). "Solvatochromism and solvent polarity scales". Accounts of Chemical Research. 23 (7): 226–231. doi:10.1021/ar00175a004. ISSN 0001-4842.

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