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Infrared Spectroscopy
Energies in infra-red radiation correspond to the energies involved in bond vibrations.
In order for a molecule to be IR active, it must be associated with changes in the permanent dipole i.e.
only molecules which have a dipole (partially positive and negative charges) would undergo IR absorption
What causes some frequencies to be absorbed?
Each frequency of light (including infra-red) has a certain energy. If a particular frequency is being absorbed as
it passes through the compound being investigated, it must mean that its energy is being transferred to the
Energies in infra-red radiation correspond to the energies involved in bond
Bond stretching
In covalent bonds, atoms are not joined by rigid links - the two atoms are held
together because both nuclei are attracted to the same pair of electrons. The two
nuclei can vibrate backwards and forwards - towards and away from each other - around an average position.
The diagram shows the stretching that happens in a carbon-oxygen single bond. There will, of course, be other
atoms attached to both the carbon and the oxygen. For example, it could be the carbon-oxygen bond in methanol,

The energy involved in this vibration depends on things like the length of the bond and the mass of the atoms at
either end. That means that each different bond will vibrate in a different way, involving different amounts of
Bonds are vibrating all the time, but if you shine exactly the right amount of energy on a bond, you can kick it
into a higher state of vibration. The amount of energy it needs to do this will vary from bond to bond, and so
each different bond will absorb a different frequency (and hence energy) of infra-red radiation.
Bond bending

Compound Type
CH3 Umbrella Deformation

Frequency range, cm-1
2960-2850(s) stretch
1470-1350(v) scissoring and bending
1380(m-w) - Doublet - isopropyl, t-butyl

m . Sample preparation for IR spectroscopy Gaseous samples require little preparation beyond purification. although a number of other salts such as potassium bromide or calcium fluoride are also used). The plates are transparent to the infrared light and will not introduce any lines onto the spectra. Liquid samples can be sandwiched between two plates of a high purity salt (commonly sodium chloride. Ethers.strong.medium. br . but a sample cell with a long path length (typically 5-10 cm) is normally needed. Phenols 3640-3160(s. The first is to crush the sample with a mulling agent (usually Nujol) in a marble or agate mortar.variable. as gases show relatively weak absorbances. Carboxylic acids. s . Carboxylic acids. Ketones. Esters 1760-1670(s) stretch Monomeric -. Solid samples can be prepared in four major ways.C-H C-H C-H Alkenes 3080-3020(m) stretch 1000-675(s) bend Aromatic Rings 3100-3000(m) stretch Phenyl Ring Substitution Bands 870-675(s) bend Phenyl Ring Substitution Overtones 2000-1600(w) .w)) stretch Alkynes 2260-2100(w. Phenols 3600-3200(b) stretch Carboxylic acids 3000-2500(b) stretch O-H 3500-3300(m) stretch N-H Amines C-N Amines 1340-1020(m) stretch CN Nitriles 2260-2220(v) stretch NO2 Nitro Compounds 1650-1580 (m) bend 1660-1500(s) asymmetrical stretch 1390-1260(s) symmetrical stretch v . with a pestle.weak The table is used in conjunction with an IR spectrum to determine what functional groups are present in an organic molecule.Alcohols. so the sample and washing reagents must be anhydrous (without water). 1500(w) stretch C-O Alcohols. Esters 1260-1000(s) stretch C=O Aldehydes.fingerprint region Alkynes 3333-3267(s) stretch 700-610(b) bend C=C Alkenes 1680-1640(m. w .sh) stretch CC C=C Aromatic Rings 1600. A thin film of the mull is applied onto salt plates and stretch Hydrogen-bonded -.Alcohols. or common salt. Some salt plates are highly soluble in water. .broad.

Limitations Note that to determine the structure of an unknown compound.Mass Spectroscopy and NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) Spectroscopy. IR Spectroscopy can only determine the functional groups present. . In order to fully elucidate the structure. The final method is to use microtomy to cut a thin (20-100 micrometre) film from a solid sample.The second method is to grind a quantity of the sample with a specially purified salt (usually potassium bromide) finely (to remove scattering effects from large crystals). Practice Questions from past papers. This is one of the most important ways of analysing failed plastic products for example because the integrity of the solid is preserved. This powder mixture is then crushed in a mechanical die press to form a translucent pellet through which the beam of the spectrometer can pass. The sample is first dissolved in a suitable. A drop of this solution is deposited on surface of KBr or NaCl cell. other techniques are required such as:. The third technique is the Cast Film technique. This technique is suitable for qualitative analysis. Care is important to ensure that the film is not too thick otherwise light cannot pass through. The solution is then evaporated to dryness and the film formed on the cell is analysed directly. which is used mainly for polymeric materials. It is important to note that spectra obtained from different sample preparation methods will look slightly different from each other due to differences in the samples' physical states. non hygroscopic solvent.