Spectral Interpretation

Course Details

This course is designed to enable students to effectively interpret infrared spectra in an industrial setting. The course will include a brief description of infrared theory and instrumentation as well as evaluation of spectral quality and factors that affect spectra. Spectral interpretation will focus on the identification of functional groups (amine groups, alcohols, hydrocarbons, esters, carboxylic acids, ketones and aldehydes and inorganic materials.) The course will present numerous examples of polymers, pharmaceutical components, paint and coatings and commonly encountered industrial compounds.

The course will emphasize real world samples and strategies will be provided for interpreting mixtures and will also emphasize effective use of spectral searching. The class will also include case studies and student exercises.

  • Infrared theory and the origin of vibration spectroscopy
  • Infrared instrumentation
    • Transmission
    • Microscope
    • Reflectance
    • ATR
  • Evaluation of spectral quality and factors that affect spectra
  • What constitutes a good (or bad) spectrum
  • Functional group identification
    • Hydroxyl/amine groups
    • Hydrocarbons
    • Double and triple bonds
    • Carbonyl
    • Inorganics
  • Practical examples
    • Polymers
    • Pharmaceuticals/drugs of abuse
    • Paints and coatings
    • Commonly encountered manufacturing materials and contaminants
  • Mixtures
  • Effective spectral searching
  • Case Studies (industrial applications)
  • Learn the origins of infrared absorption bands and how they correspond to specific chemical bonds (functional groups)
  • Determine what constitutes and good quality spectrum and understand the factors that influence spectral quality
  • Identify peaks due to specific functional groups
  • Identify and elucidate mixtures
  • Practice spectral interpretation of examples from a wide range of industries

This is a practical, hands-on course for anyone who measures or uses infrared spectra in their jobs, including technicians, research scientists, and lab managers.

Detailed course manual and handouts.

A familiarity with organic chemistry is helpful, but not required.

Students are expected to successfully complete a variety of tasks in the form of hands-on exercises, laboratory exercises, identifications of unknowns, and quizzes. Students are notified at the end of the course whether or not they have successfully completed the requirements of the course based on:

  • 100% Attendance
  • Class participation
  • Completion of all course material
  • Completed and signed student evaluation form

Upon successfully meeting these requirements, a student is awarded a certificate of completion and CEU credits, if available. Those who have not successfully passed the course requirements do not receive a certificate or CEU credits.

Please see our General Policies page for information related to course registration and cancellation.


Accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), an internationally recognized organization for standards and authorization for continuing education and training, Hooke College of Applied Sciences provides a research-based learning experience taught by some of the best experts in the industry.

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