When radiation hits something it may be sent off in many directions. This is scattering and is distinct from absorption, reflection, and refraction. Kinds of scattering include: Tyndall effect Compton scattering Thomson scattering Rayleigh scattering Mie scattering
Absorption is a condition in which something takes in another substance. It is a physical or chemical phenomenon or process, in which atoms, molecules, or ions enter in the inner part of a gas, liquid, or solid material.
This is a different process from adsorption. Molecules undergoing absorption are going deep into the volume of the material, instead in the case of adsorption molecules stop at the surface of the material. A more general term is sorption, which covers absorption, adsorption, and ion exchange.
Other meanings of "absorption" are:
- Physics: receiving of electromagnetic radiation by a material.
- Biology: entry of substances through the skin or other boundaries such as the intestine or cell membrane.
- Pharmacology: release of drugs into the blood.