Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy

What is IR Spectroscopy? IR Spectroscopy works with the infrared region of electromagnetic spectrum, basically wavelengths that are bigger than the one in the visible light spectrum. IR Spectroscopy is heavily based on absorbance and can be used to identify and study chemicals. It can be used on gases, solids and for labs many students use liquid. The basic IR Spectrum is usually in graph form with the Y-axis being either wavelength or frequency and the x axis being light absorbance.

So now that we know about IR Spectroscopy how are we going use it as a student? In school IR Spectroscopy will come up in multiple class and is helpful for determining many aspects of a chemical. Problems with IR Spectroscopy are usually taught in Organic chemistry and at first glance can be intimidating, but don’t worry MC Enzyme is here to help you break it down.

So let’s start off with looking at an actual example of an IR Spectrum. In this picture we see several important features even though at 1st glance it looks like a bad piece of art; so let’s identify them. The main part of this graph is the red peaks that seem to be falling down. These will usually be the main focus of the graph. By the depth and shape of these peaks we can identify components of our chemical. The two shapes that these peaks can be are sharp and broad. The second part is the wavenumber on the bottom indicating where the value of these peaks. With this we can you use these details to help identify features of the compound and in turn identify the compound.

How to:

1. Identify what the instructor is looking for and what is given. The instructor can give you a compound and ask you to look at a spectrum and tell them which peaks are valuable for this compound. Your instructor can also ask the opposite by giving you a spectrum and ask you to tell them what noticeable functional groups are displayed.

2. Well MC Enzyme which peaks are important. Peaks that have lots of depth and are noticeably broad. Looking at the figure above, we will notice peaks in the 3500,1700-1500,1300-1000,

3. Using the chart provided below, you can identify the parts of the chemical and put them with their wavenumbers. So for our 3500 Cm peak matches with alcohol and phenol telling us about the benzyl with the hydroxyl group (our starting main compound, 1700-1500 peaks go along well with aldehydes, 1300-1000 matches with the ether shown.

There you go, you just preformed awesome science, with your new skill set you can identify details about chemical and in turn find out what chemical you are working with. Although sometimes Problems remember to breathe and be like MC Enzyme and break down the problem, what do we need to find and what do we have. This will help you with the rest of your career in the science field.

For additional information on IR Spectroscopy check out this website.

To learn more about the times, locations, and subjects CAPS offers, visit our webpage or come in to the 3rd floor of Zimmerman Library.


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