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How Are You Using Your FTIR Spectrophotometer?

Learn some of the most exciting applications and more from the latest FTIR survey results

by Jason Kerkhof

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, a subset of infrared (IR) spectroscopy, uses a mathematical algorithm, Fourier transform, to translate raw infrared data into a spectrum.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying an FTIR Spectrophotometer

  1. What applications are you using FTIR for? This will determine what type of FTIR spectrophotometer will be the best fit for you. For example, if you will be conducting most work outside the lab, a portable instrument is likely a good fit. FTIR microscopy may also be an option you’ll want to consider, depending on what type of research you do.
  2. What sort of environment will you be working in? If you are out in the field, in a humid area for example, the instrument should be tough enough to handle the conditions.
  3. Who will be using the instrument? If non-experts will be the main users, it makes sense to go for a user-friendly instrument that won’t take too much time to learn to use. The complexity of the software is also important to consider.
  4. What accessories are available for the instrument and how wide is their range?
  5. As with most instruments, you should ask what sort of service and support the company provides for the FTIR spectrophotometer, and its cost in terms of acquisition, running the FTIR, and maintaining the instrument.

Most common problems users experience when using their FTIR Spectrophotometer:

Scanning problems27%
Low signal20%
Poor absorbance accuracy15%
Wavelength accuracy14%
Not meeting published resolution specifications12%
Peak shape7%
No signal5%

Types of applications survey respondents perform using FTIR:

Quality verification69%
Contaminant identification53%
Analysis of thin films and coatings27%
Failure analysis25%
Monitoring emissions5%

How many FTIR spectrometers respondents currently have in their lab:

5 or more7%

Nearly 41% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new FTIR spectrophotometer. The reasons are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system63%
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity19%
Setting up a new lab17%
First time purchase10%


For more information on FTIR, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit