Measurement of Organics Using Three FTIR Techniques: Absorption, Attenuated Total Reflectance, and Diffuse Reflectance
This paper describes an undergraduate junior- and senior-level instrumental analysis experiment that uses three infrared analysis techniques: conventional transmission spectroscopy, attenuated total reflection (ATR) spectroscopy, and diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS). Using transmission spectroscopy, methyl t-butyl ether, MTBE, in a state-supplied certification gasoline was measured to be 11.3 ?± 0.4 % (v/v, 2s), in agreement with the stated MTBE content of 10.9% (v/v). Measurements were also carried out on various brands of commercial gasoline and MTBE was found to vary from 9.2 to 12.2% (v/v). ATR was used to measure the ethanol content of different brands of vodka, which ranged from 36 to 40 % (v/v) in agreement with the labeled concentration of 40% (v/v). This part of the experiment highlights the significant advantages of using ATR for the analysis of aqueous solutions that cannot be carried out using normal transmission spectroscopy. Finally, DRIFTS measurements were made of total hydrocarbons in six soil samples. The results ranged from below the detection limit of 120 ppm (w/w) for soil from a path at a residential home to 915 ppm (w/w) for a sample from the center planter of a gas station. This part of the experiment illustrates the advantages of using DRIFTS to analyze solids compared to making pellets or mulls. This experiment is carried out during one seven-hour laboratory period.