FTIR Analysis, Spectral Interpretation, and Methods Development

Infrared Interpretations FTIR laboratory includes techniques to identify or characterize materials.  FTIR is capable of determining the chemical composition of a bulk material (i.e. polyvinyl chloride, PVC) or the components in a material (i.e. phthalates in PVC). The information provided by the FTIR analysis of materials, allows our spectroscopist to solve complex customer problems. These problems include identification of unknowns, reverse engineering (deformulation), quantiation of additives, additive identification and chemical structure determination.

One example case study is shown in the above spectral overlay of turbine oil with decreasing concentrations of phenolic and aminic antioxidants.  The antioxidants in turbine oil extend the oils usefulness by delaying the onset of oxidation.  The spectra also indicate the precision of FTIR analysis for quantitative measurement of such additives in oils or polymers. 

The applications for FTIR analysis extend to nearly all states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases) and applications extend beyond this planet.  FTIR analysis (mid-infrared) and NIR (near infrared) techniques are used in NASA probes for detecting water on the moon, Mars, and various other experiments.  

Samples can be sent in for analysis by the most appropriate spectroscopic techniques.  Filtration, liquid and solid phase extraction, and other specialized sample preparations will be performed as necessary to properly identify unknowns or quantify components in a bulk sample.  FTIR analysis can be performed on any solid, liquid, or gas sample.  For the interpretation service alone, simply provide the FTIR, NIR, or Raman spectrum and an identification result with relevant interpretations will be provided.  Emergency response or rush analysis service is also available with a rapid 24hour turnaround time.

Qualitative FTIR analysis, library collection, and quantitative FTIR analysis methods have been developed to meet and often exceed ASTM, EPA, FDA, USP, or ISO methods.  More advanced levels of FTIR analysis often employ the use of chemometric partial least squares (PLS) and classical least squares (CLS) modeling techniques.   

Example applications and capabilities:

Oil in Water FTIR Analysis

Measures the amount of oil in process water, fresh water, or even salt water sources.  FTIR analysis is capable of measuring trace oil in the Gulf Oil Spill, industrial coolant water, or even in your own home.  Tap water can be contaminated after it leaves the town water processing facilities.  The following methods are used for oil in water FTIR analysis: EPA 1664, ASTM D3921, ASTM D7066-04, and DECC TTCE FTIR Analysis method.  Other ASTM methods also use infrared analysis including ASTM D7575, EPA 8440, EPA 413.2, EPA 418.1, and EPA 3560.  The TTCE IR method is enhanced by using FTIR analysis and specialized filtration techniques or solvent extraction for very accurate oil in water measurement and reports in ppm or mg/L oil.  TTCE FTIR analysis method is capable of detecting oil in the 0.05-200ppm range of mineral oils in water.  Our lab FTIR analysis techniques combined with filtration can also measure grease, clay, and bacteria in water.  Please contact us by email for more information on this service.  

Ultra Low level biodiesel in diesel analysis - Using specialized FTIR analysis techniques we're able to measure biodiesel (FAME and any other ester impurities) in diesel or jet fuel down to 15ppm.  This is in comparison to the ASTM 7371 method which uses FTIR to measure biodiesel down to 1% (10,000ppm) and the best European EN14078 method only measures down to 0.05% (500ppm) biodiesel.  The popular Agilent® 4500t FTIR biodiesel method measures the biodiesel level down to 0.025% (250ppm).   Please contact us by email for more information on this service.    The standard method for biodiesel in diesel (0.025-100%) is provided in our standard diesel fuel FTIR analysis service (Oil and fuel FTIR analysis).

Above is the FTIR spectral overlay of biodiesel in diesel, the biodiesel peaks at 1741cm-1 (ester carbonyl stretch), 1170cm-1 (ester C-O stretch), 1196cm-1, and 1245cm-1 increase proportionally to concentration according to Beer's Law (Absorbance Law).  This law is common to most spectroscopic quantitative analytical techniques and is used to create an oil analysis methods for used and in-process oils.  This FTIR analysis technique is used to identify and quantitate the degree of oxidation and depletion of additives in an industrial hydraulic, gear, turbine, crankcase, compressor, or specialty oil.  Similarly, FTIR analysis can be performed on greases and other very high viscosity lubricants. More information on this service is provided on our Oil and Fuel FTIR analysis page.

Oil and Fuel Analysis:




hydrocarbon chain composition

Biodiesel in diesel

Oil and Fuel Contamination


ZDDP Antiwear Concentrations


Polymer and Composite Analysis

Surface Coatings

Anodization Characterization

Blooming Residues

Polymer Additives

Oxidation / Failure Modes

Degree of Cure

Surface Cleanliness - FTIR analysis is capable of measuring trace impurities on metal, glass, and polymer surfaces.  Impurities can be silicone oils, mineral oils, greases, or slip agents.

Quality Control and Quality Assurance:

FTIR analysis, NIR analysis, and Raman are increasingly utilized in pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and chemical industries to provide rapid and accurate assessment of product quality. 

On-line Applications also allow for early contaminant detection which minimizes production losses.

Expert FTIR interpretation and Methods Development