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Extinction coefficient refers to several different measures of the absorption of light in a medium:
- In meteorology, or climatology, extinction coefficient is the name for the attenuation coefficient.
- In chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or microbiology, the mass extinction coefficient and the molar extinction coefficient (also called molar absorptivity) are parameters defining how strongly a substance absorbs light at a given wavelength, per mass density or per molar concentration, respectively.
- In physics, the "extinction coefficient" is the imaginary part of the complex index of refraction, which also relates to light absorption.
(For the quantitative relationship between the chemistry and physics definitions, see Mathematical descriptions of opacity.)
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