Yesterday evening,  Stephen Myers from the NSMS department kindly gave me some basic Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) training. I learned what settings to use in the OMNIC software, how to position the cuvettes in the FTIR, and how to save the data to .csv files.

The training took about an hour, probably because I asked a  lot of questions about all the options in the Experiment Setup dialog of  OMNIC. For our purposes we will only need to set a few options as outlined below.

Collect Tab:

  • Number of Scans. The options are between 1 – 128. He suggested 32.
  • Data spacing. Select 4 or 8. The larger the spacing the smoother the curve (less points collected). Smaller spacing scans take longer.
  • Final Format. %transmittance.
  • Correction. None.
  • Under Background Handling, select Collect background after 100 minutes (more on this in a minute).

Bench Tab:

  • Select Min/Max option
  • Set Sample compartment to Main. The view should look similar to cross-hairs, not noise.
  • Set Recommended range max to 10,000 and min to 2,000. The range is  determined by dividing 10000 / the range limit. The resulting quotient is the wave length. Stephen figured our cuvettes would read best with a limit of 1 – 4 microns.

Click the OK button to accept the changes and exit out of the Experiment Setup dialog box. We are now ready to collect our background reading.

  • Set the empty cuvette in the scanner. Make sure the red beam is on the sample.
  • Close and lock the door.
  • Wait at least five minutes for atmosphere clearance.
  • Click the Collect Background button.
  • Save the file.

Once we’ve collected the background information, we want to change the Background Handling option in Experiment Setup to Use specified background file.

Now we can load samples and scan each of them. OMNIC will automatically remove the background information from each scan. When we are done we can save the file(s) in .csv format to use in any data analysis we need.

Stephen would like me to run a few scans with him present and then Anthony and I can schedule time on our own. I’m stoked!

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