Atoms, molecules, or solids that are excited to high energy levels can
decay to lower levels by emitting radiation (emission or luminescence).
For atoms excited by a high-temperature energy source this light emission
is commonly called atomic or optical emission (see atomic-emission
spectroscopy) and for atoms excited with light it is called atomic
fluorescence (see atomic-fluorescence spectroscopy).
For molecules it is called fluorescence if the transition is between states
of the same spin and phosphorescence if the transition occurs between states
of different spin. Separate documents describe molecular
fluorescence, which can be done with compact instruments, and laser-induced
The emission intensity of an emitting substance is linearly proportional
to analyte concentration at low concentrations. Atomic emission and molecular
fluorescence are therefore useful for quantitating
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