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FTIR Analysis

What is FTIR?

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, also known as FTIR analysis, is an analytical testing technique used to identify organic and some inorganic materials through the application of infrared radiation (IR).

As the sample absorbs the infrared light, the absorbance of energy at the various wavelengths is measured to determine the material's molecular composition and structure. The patterns of absorption bands at the various wavelengths throughout the infrared region (or the FTIR spectrum) are unique to each material. Once the spectrum is produced, computer searches of reference libraries assist in the material's identification.

FTIR has been around for more than a century. Today, it's often the first step in the materials testing process because of its sensitivity, speed and simplicity.

Gain a better understanding of How FTIR Spectroscopy Works and learn more with FTIR Resources and Learning Materials.

FTIR analysis is used to:

  • Identify unknown materials
  • Identify, and in some cases quantify, surface contamination present on a material
  • Identify additives in a polymer; some need to be chemically removed, e. g. solvent extraction

FTIR analysis testing can provide:

  • Precise measurements
  • Analysis with little or no harm to the sample
  • Sample information collection at high speed


The History of FTIR Analysis

FTIR analysis has origins that date all the way back to the 19th Century. Here are some of the major milestones in FTIR's history: (Historical source: Da-Wen Sun's book "Infrared Spectroscopy for Food Quality Analysis and Control.")


Sir William Herschel developed prism-based techniques for measuring IR spectra

Sir William Herschel
(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Albert A. Michelson created the interferometer, which could be converted into a spectrum using Fourier transformations.

Albert A. Michelson
(Image Source: AstroLabs)

After World War II

More than 60 years after its invention, FTIR starts being seen as a viable analytical tool.


Cooley and Tukey created the fast Fourier transform (FFT), improving the performance of early spectrometers.

Late 1960s

The first commercial FTIR spectrometers become available.

first commercial FTIR spectrometers
(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons user KkMurray)


The materials testing lab Evans Central opens in Minnesota.


Evans Central becomes Innovatech Labs.

Innovatech Labs

Examples of FTIR Analysis Today

Today, FTIR testing is often the first step in the materials testing process because of its sensitivity, speed and simplicity. For this reason, FTIR analysis has become an incredibly useful quality control tool for manufacturers.

For example, the packaging materials used today have many different layers; FTIR can be used to identify the various layers in a packaging material. FTIR analysis can also be used to identify the chemical makeup of a material or identify contaminants contributing to a quality issue.

FTIR spectroscopy can also help identify and, in some cases quantify, potentially harmful chemicals and contaminants on products such as electronics, toys, medical devices and food service items. For example, a company needed to ensure that a recent shipment of beach balls were free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and phthalates before sending them off to be sold. FTIR analysis determined that the beach balls did in fact contain PVC, which allowed the company to avoid a product recall.

To learn more about FTIR analysis services from Innovatech Labs, get in touch with us today.

Learn More About FTIR Spectroscopy :

Contact Innovatech Labs for More Information

Learn more about FTIR Analysis (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) by contacting Innovatech Labs online or by calling one of our highly trained analysts at 888-740-LABS (5227).