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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 51, Iss. 9 — Mar. 20, 2012
  • pp: 1336–1351

Measurement of light absorption by aquatic particles: improvement of the quantitative filter technique by use of an integrating sphere approach

Rüdiger Röttgers and Steffen Gehnke  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 51, Issue 9, pp. 1336-1351 (2012)

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Determination of particulate absorption in natural waters is often made by measuring the transmittance of samples on glass-fiber filters with the so-called quantitative filter technique (QFT). The accuracy of this technique is limited due to variations in the optical properties of the sample/filter composite, and due to uncertainties in the path-length amplification induced by multiple scattering inside the filter. Some variations in the optical properties of the sample/filter composite can be compensated by additional measurements of the filter’s reflectance (transmittance–reflectance method [T-R] [TassanS.FerrariG. M., Limnol. Oceanogr. 40, 1358 (1995)]). We propose a different, rarely used approach, namely to measure the filter’s absorptance in the center of a large integrating sphere, to avoid problems with light losses due to scattering. A comparison with other QFTs includes a sensitivity study for different error sources and determination of path-length amplification factors for each measurement technique. Measurements with a point-source integrating-cavity absorption meter were therefore used to determine the true absorption. Filter to filter variability induced a much lower error in absorptance compared to a measured transmittance. This reduced error permits more accurate determination of the usually low absorption coefficient in the near IR spectral region. The error of the T-R method was lower than that of the transmittance measurement but slightly higher than that of an absorptance measurement. The mean path-length amplification was much higher for the absorptance measurement compared to the T-R method (4.50 versus 2.45) but was found to be largely independent of wavelength and optical density. With natural samples the path-length amplification was less variable for the absorptance measurement, reducing the overall error for absorption to less than ±14%, compared to ±25% for the T-R method.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(010.1030) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Absorption

ToC Category:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Optics

Original Manuscript: September 13, 2011
Revised Manuscript: December 2, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: December 8, 2011
Published: March 15, 2012

Virtual Issues
Vol. 7, Iss. 5 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
April 30, 2012 Spotlight on Optics

Rüdiger Röttgers and Steffen Gehnke, "Measurement of light absorption by aquatic particles: improvement of the quantitative filter technique by use of an integrating sphere approach," Appl. Opt. 51, 1336-1351 (2012)

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