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FTIR and Raman spectroscopy are powerful analytical techniques used for analysis and identification of unknown materials. Almost every molecule produces a unique spectrum that can be used as a "fingerprint" for positive identification. However, unlike a person's fingerprint, it can also be used to infer information about the structure and functionality of the molecules in the unknown sample.

The peaks in FTIR and Raman spectra yield important clues about the sample. Since the locations of the peaks are directly related to the characteristic vibrational frequencies of specific functional groups (e.g., -OH, CH3), the spectra are effectively roadmaps to classifying the sample. In addition, the presence or absence of particular group frequencies can yield important clues about the sample's composition.

Trained spectroscopists may be able to identify a pure compound or polymer simply by observing the peaks of an infrared spectrum. However, this type of analysis is very time consuming. Until about 15 years ago, scientists were forced to spend hours searching through books of spectra to attempt to visually match the spectra of their samples. With computerization of spectrometers came the ability to perform rapid and reliable spectral searching against large databases of spectra.

In spectral database searching, a computer compares the spectrum to thousands of reference spectra in a matter of seconds, in the same way that a criminologist compares the fingerprint of a suspect to a fingerprint database. However, in one respect, spectral library searching is more powerful. Not only is it possible to find exact matches, it can also be used to find spectra of similar compounds even if the exact compound is not present in the database.

Spectral library searching has many potential uses for all types of research and industry. It can be used to identify or classify spectra as an aid to determining the chemical structure of new compounds. It is frequently used in law enforcement and environmental investigations to identify samples found at the scene (such as drugs or soil contaminants). It is even used in industry to attempt to identify potential sources of impurities or contaminants found in the manufacturing process.

Traditionally, spectral database searching required the purchase of special software and expensive libraries, making the costs prohibitive to many potential users. FTIRsearch.com makes a huge database of over 71,000 FTIR and almost 16,000 Raman spectra available to you over the Internet. What's even better, you only pay when you use it. All you need is a web browser and a connection to the Internet to start searching the FTIRsearch.com database.

Whether you are a university researcher on a limited budget, a scientist who occasionally needs to analyze a competitive product, or a laboratory manager who routinely receives spectra of unknown materials from customers, FTIRsearch.com can provide you with a cost effective, easy-to-use tool for spectral interpretation and identification. Let FTIRsearch.com do the searching work for you. If you can surf the web, you can search a spectrum!



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