What is photolysis?

Photolysis as the word suggests the process take place in the presence of light. We know that photo indicates light. Let us know more about this.


Photolysis is defined as the decomposition of substances on exposure to light, while photooxidation is the oxidation of a substance on exposure to light. Irradiation of tryptophan with UV light results in the formation of a tryptophan radical and a hydrated electron.


Listed below are the significance of photolysis

  • In terrestrial environments soil surface and leaf canopies, photolysis is an important factor of nutrient cycling and trace gas production.
  • The photolysis of water is a central process in photosynthesis. For example, the photolysis of nitromethane suspended in solid argon at 20°K. has been investigated by means of infrared spectroscopy.
  • The primary act of photolysis is an intramolecular rearrangement into methyl nitrite.

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