- Jill Colna
- Nov 17, 2021
Raw materials are one of the first steps in most manufacturing processes and form the basis of all production. As a result, material choice is one of the most important aspects of the manufacturing process. Nelipak Laboratory Services leverages a material analysis method FTIR called Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), a technique with a wide range of manufacturing applications in the pharmaceutical, medical device and petroleum industries.
FTIR is commonly used to identify contaminants in healthcare packaging materials, determine the makeup of questionable raw materials or check the composition of inks used for package printing. This method is non-destructive so that the same sample can be used again for other purposes.
FTIR is an analytical technique used to obtain an absorption infrared spectrum characteristic of the materials under analysis. The technique works by shining a beam of infrared light made of multiple wavelengths on the sample. Then, the machine analyses which light is absorbed, creating a spectrum. This spectrum is characteristic of the material sample makeup due to the properties of the chemical bonds between different elements, which absorb light at different frequencies. A spectrum of a tested sample can be compared to a library of spectra to match up the sample spectrum with that of an identical sample from the collection to identify what material is present.
The first step is to analyse a background spectrum to remove any possible interferences from the local environment. Next, the sample is placed in the FTIR analyser. The sample is bombarded with radiation from an IR source (most commonly an interferometer) with the sample absorbing certain wavelengths of the radiation. A detector, which scans the incoming radiation that has passed through the material without being absorbed (known as transmitted radiation), gathers this information as raw data. The detector then takes this data and runs it through a computer using a mathematical technique called the Fourier transformation to create a characteristic spectrum for the material. The technique can also be performed by detecting the radiation that is reflected off the surface of the material rather than what is transmitted through it.