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Infrared Absorption

Definition - What does Infrared Absorption mean?

The Definition

Infrared absorption, also known as infrared spectroscopy, is a type of study that is used to identify and study chemicals. When dealing with cases of possible drunk driving, this kind of technology is used to measure the quantity of alcohol in human breath. This is the technology that is present within breathalizers. 

The Importance of Infrared Absorption

Infrared absorption is important to determine exactly how much alcohol can be in someone's system, and a breath test can determine that with this type of technology. When trying to understand what exactly goes on during an infrared breath testing device, two concepts are considered during analysis:

  • Qualitative (going down to the exact nature of the analyzed substance)
  • Quantitative (going down to the exact amount of the analyzed substance)

When dealing with the qualitative concept, the infrared technology focuses on the compound ethyl alcohol. It pinpoints this compound within human breath, and those specific molecules will absorb some of the radiation. Companies that manufacture these breath tests have high standards on providing tests that not only accurately determine the compound with the infrared technology, but also strive to identify the right types of compounds that indicate alcohol consumption, without mistaking it with something else present in the human breath.

When dealing with the quantitative concept, it is extremely important for infrared technology to accurately identify exactly how much alcohol is present in the human breath and body system. It is legal to drive with some traces of alcohol in the human body system, however, not over a certain level. It is highly important for the breath test to determine accurately if the individual is driving with too much alcohol or with a legal amount, and infrared absorption is a great way to determine this when manufactured properly.

Though there is always room for error with any type of technology, infrared absorption has proven to be an effective way to measure quality and quantity in an individual's breath, and the technology has held up in court when convicting people of drunk driving.

(Read more: - alcohol - court - DUI Law )

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