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Example Applications
  • Material Identification
  • Material Comparison
  • Percent Silicone in Grease
  • Paints & Coatings

Techniques>Chemical Analysis>Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR)

FT-IR Spectroscopy

Material Identification, Analysis, & Testing

What is Fourier Transform Infared Spectroscopy?

FT-IR testing is an excellent analytical tool that can positively identify unknown compounds by comparing sample spectrum (similar to material fingerprints) to a library of standards.  This form of material identification allows for a high degree of accuracy and can be utilized for virtually any material.  Our FT-IR spectroscopy methods prove valuable in many applications and industries.  Additional advantages include

  • High Throughput
  • Mechanical Simplicity
  • Non-Destructive Sampling
  • High Sensitivity
  • Accuracy
  • and Reproducibility

How It Works

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR testing) is a tool for qualitative and quantitative material and polymer identification.  Materials have unique properties that can be identified through the absorption and transmission of infrared radiation as it is passed through the sample.  The frequencies of the vibrations between the bonds of atoms in the material coincide with a spectrum.  FT-IR analysis reveals absorption peaks that are unique to the material tested.  By comparing these peaks to reference materials and gathered data, we can perform detailed plastic identification without destroying the material being tested.

One of our Perkin Elmer FTIR unitsA sample prepared for an IR scan on a diamond anvil cellAn example of an IR spectra. This is one of our polypropylene standard reference materials.


FAI operates Perkin Elmer's highest quality research grade units with broad ranging capabilities for plastic identification and beyond.  We have both a DTGS (room temperature) detector and the liquid nitrogen cooled MCT-B high sensitivity detector, with interchangeable KBr and quartz beam splitters.  These variations allow us to conduct highly detailed material and polymer analysis by using FT-IR spectroscopy on virtually any material.  We also have a unit for ATR (reflectance) spectroscopy and crystals for HATR.

Sampling Technique

FT-IR spectroscopy requires only a small sample in order to effectively analyze.  A very small sample is taken and compressed between two diamonds in an anvil cell or pressed against a diamond for reflectance.  Infrared radiation (4000 to 400 nm) is then passed through or reflected off the surface of the sample and a spectrum is collected.  This spectrum is then compared to standard reference materials and other spectra in our libraries to perform a positive polymer analysis.  This type of plastics testing yields very detailed results.

Related Services:

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS)

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDXS)

Call us at 770-928-1930 or contact us to see how we can help you today.