Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Water Quality

Water travels through the environment carrying dissolved organic matter (DOM), made up of various chemical compounds, which have entered the water column from many sources. The amount of DOM in water and its chemical composition vary in space and time. Light’s interaction with DOM is a function of its chemical make-up; thus fluorescence spectroscopy can provide information about the amount and type of DOM in a water sample. Because the chemical composition of DOM is determined by its original source material and the processing occurring in the environments through which it travels, DOM characterization using fluorescence spectroscopy can help find the source of DOM, as well as the pathway the water transporting it has followed.1

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