Polymer Analysis

Spectroscopic Analysis


Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction of matter with microwave (NMR), infrared (FTIR), and Visible (UV-vis) light. We can use various techniques to characterize polymers and identify the relationship between the polymer structures and their physical properties.

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Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR)

Depending on the experiment performed, NMR spectroscopy can be used to gather important information about the structure and molecular nature of the polymer system.

1H NMR (standard analysis)

  • Identity of the polymer (types of monomers)

  • Polymer Impurities (e.g. solvents, catalyst, moisture, etc.)

  • End-group analysis to determine polymer size (Degree of polymerization, DP)

  • Functional groups present (e.g. from derivatization)

  • in situ Reactions and Polymerization Kinetics

  • Degree of branching

  • Ratio of monomers for copolymers

  • Variable Temperature experiments (‒80 °C to +120 °C)

Other Nuclei can also be detected by NMR to gather more information on the structural composition. The following nuclei can be used to run NMR spectroscopy experiments: 13C, 19F, 31P, 2H, 11B, 77Se, 15N, 29Si.


2D NMR can be used if the polymer requires a more thorough investigation in order to determine structural characteristics. For example, homonuclear (1H, 1H) COSY, TOCSY, NOESY, and heteronuclear (1H, 13C) HSQC, HMBC experiments are possible.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)

FTIR can be a complementary characterization method to determine:

  • Purity of material

  • Detection of IR active functional group

  • Chemical fingerprint of compounds

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Ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopy

UV-vis spectroscopy is a type of absorption spectroscopy where we can monitor the transition of from ground states to excited states.

This is also a complementary characterization method to:

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