What would you do if all you had to connect an alleged hit-and-run driver to the victim was a thread found on the driver's car bumper? How would you identify a microcontaminant found on the surface of an uncoated tablet, the foreign substance on floppy diskettes that prevented them from reading and writing properly, or the defect in the barrier layer of a multilayered laminate? In all cases, you could use a Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) microspectroscopy system to identify the substances. Once the area of interest is localized using the microscope, it can be quickly analyzed by the FT-IR spectrometer. An FT-IR spectrometer measures the vibrations of the molecular bonds of a sample simultaneously at all infrared frequencies and, through the mathematical process known as the Fourier transformation, converts the information into a spectrum that can then be analyzed. Comparison of the resulting spectrum to those of spectral libraries,...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!