optical density

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optical density

The ability of a laboratory specimen to absorb or block the passage of light. The optical density of a laboratory sample can be used as an indicator of the concentration of specific components in the sample.
Synonym: optical absorbance
See also: density

optical density

a spectrophotometric measurement of light scattered by a suspension at a particular wavelength. Optical density measurements can be used to determine the BIOMASS concentration in a suspension, when, for instance, monitoring the GROWTH of a culture of MICROORGANISMS. It should be noted, however, that the microorganisms in the suspension will both scatter and, probably to a lesser extent, absorb the incident light, and it is the sum of these properties that is measured. It is therefore debatable what term should be applied. ABSORBANCE is sometimes used interchangeably with optical density, but this is not strictly correct. Optical density is generally accepted as the more appropriate term when measuring microbial growth.

density, optical

A term applied to optical filters. It is equal to the logarithm to the base 10 of the reciprocal of the transmission factor T thus,
where D is the symbol for optical density. Syn. absorbance. See absorbance; absorption; spectrophotometer; transmittance.
Table D1 Density of optical lens materials
ndensity (g/cm3)
glass
spectacle crown1.5232.54
dense barium crown1.6203.71
dense flint1.7063.20
dense barium flint1.7004.10
titanium oxide1.7012.99
plastics
PMMA1.4901.19
CR-391.4981.32
polycarbonate1.5861.2
cellulose acetate butyrate1.481.2
cellulose propionate1.461.2

Table D2 Relationship between optical density D and light transmission T of optical filters
DT (%)
0.0100
0.179.4
0.263.1
0.350.1
0.439.8
0.531.6
0.625.1
0.720.0
0.815.8
0.912.6
1.010.0
1.53.16
2.01.0
2.50.32
3.00.1
4.00.01