Infrared spectroscopy (IR spectroscopy or vibrational spectroscopy) involves the interaction of infrared radiation with matter. It covers a range of techniques, mostly based on absorption spectroscopy. As with all spectroscopic techniques, it can be used to identify and study chemicals. Samples may be solid, liquid, or gas. The method or technique of infrared spectroscopy is conducted with an instrument called an infrared spectrometer (or spectrophotometer) to produce an infrared spectrum. An IR spectrum can be visualized in a graph of infrared light absorbance (or transmittance) on the vertical axis vs. frequency or wavelength on the horizontal axis. Typical units of frequency used in IR spectra are reciprocal centimeters (sometimes called wave numbers), with the symbol cm−1. Units of IR wavelength are commonly given in micrometers (formerly called “microns”), symbol μm, which are related to wave numbers in a reciprocal way. A common laboratory instrument that uses this technique is a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer.
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