Is FTIR or Raman better for my application?

Raman and FTIR spectrometers offer molecular information about the structure and composition of chemical and biological samples. Because of the fundamental principles that govern each technology, both can yield complementary information. However, frequently one technology is a better choice, depending on the nature of the application.

Learn more about Raman vs. FTIR spectroscopy.

What are FTIR spectrometers used for?

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers are used in both industry and academic laboratories to better understand the molecular structure of materials as well as the kinetics, mechanisms, and pathways in chemical reactions and catalytic cycles. FTIR spectrometers help in understanding the structure of individual molecules and the composition of molecular mixtures. FTIR spectrometers have broad use and applicability in the analysis of molecules important in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and polymer industries.

What is FTIR spectroscopy?

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) is a type of infrared (IR) spectroscopy that has been in existence for several decades now as a valuable tool to interrogate samples of unknown composition. FTIR is one of the most heavily used optical spectroscopy techniques by scientists in academia, government, and the industrial sector. Infrared spectroscopy takes advantage of the fact that atom-to-atom bonds vibrate at specific frequencies.

When energy, comprised of multiple frequencies (such as that from an infrared source), is introduced to these molecular vibrations, an absorption of that infrared energy occurs at that same molecular vibrational frequency. Plotting the intensity of the absorbance across a range of frequencies, yields an infrared spectrum. Furthermore, bonds of different types (e.g., double, triple) and different atoms (e.g, C–O, C–H, C–N, etc.) each have specific vibrational frequencies.

The specificity of these vibrational frequencies can be thought of as a fingerprint of the atom-to-atom bonds that make up a given molecule. This fingerprint then makes it possible to identify molecules or compounds in a mixture and likewise can detect the making and breaking of chemical bonds that occur in a reaction.

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What is the difference between IR and FTIR?

FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) is a type of IR (Infrared) spectroscopy, that allows scientists to probe the vibrations of molecules. Infrared Spectroscopy was traditionally a dispersive technique, making use of technology such as a monochromator to scan across the wavelengths of the infrared spectrum. With FTIR spectroscopy, all the wavelengths of light are measured at the same time, using an interferometer. The infrared spectrum is then obtained through a mathematical transformation called a Fourier transform. As all the wavelengths are measured simultaneously, FTIR can collect spectra much faster than scanning techniques.

Learn more about FTIR spectroscopy.

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