Infrared spectroscopy is widely used in industry as well as in research. It is a simple and reliable technique for measurement, quality control and dynamic measurement. It is also employed in forensic analysis in civil and criminal analysis.

Some of the major applications of IR spectroscopy are as follows:

1. Identification of functional group and structure elucidation

Entire IR region is divided into group frequency region and fingerprint region. Range of group frequency is 4000-1500 cm-1 while that of finger print region is 1500-400 cm-1.

In group frequency region, the peaks corresponding to different functional groups can be observed. According to corresponding peaks, functional group can be determined.

Each atom of the molecule is connected by bond and each bond requires different IR region so characteristic peaks are observed. This region of IR spectrum is called as finger print region of the molecule. It can be determined by characteristic peaks.

2. Identification of substances

IR spectroscopy is used to establish whether a given sample of an organic substance is identical with another or not. This is because large number of absorption bands is observed in the IR spectra of organic molecules and the probability that any two compounds will produce identical spectra is almost zero. So if two compounds have identical IR spectra then both of them must be samples of the same substances.

IR spectra of two enatiomeric compound are identical. So IR spectroscopy fails to distinguish between enantiomers.

For example, an IR spectrum of benzaldehyde is observed as follows.

C-H stretching of aromatic ring-                        3080 cm-1

C-H stretching of aldehyde-                              2860 cm-1 and 2775 cm-1

C=O stretching of an aromatic aldehyde-         1700 cm-1

C=C stretching of an aromatic ring-                  1595 cm-1

C-H bending-                                                     745 cm-1 and 685 cm-1

No other compound then benzaldehyde produces same IR spectra as shown above.

3. Studying the progress of the reaction

Progress of chemical reaction can be determined by examining the small portion of the reaction mixure withdrawn from time to time. The rate of disappearance of a characteristic absorption band of the reactant group and/or the rate of appearance of the characteristic absorption band of the product group due to formation of product is observed.

4. Detection of impurities

IR spectrum of the test sample to be determined is compared with the standard compound. If any additional peaks are observed in the IR spectrum, then it is due to impurities present in the compound.

5. Quantitative analysis

The quantity of the substance can be determined either in pure form or as a mixure of two or more compounds. In this, characteristic peak corresponding to the drug substance is chosen and log I0/It of peaks for standard and test sample is compared. This is called base line technique to determine the quantity of the substance.