Chapter 18

Seeing Good Vibrations: IR Spectroscopy

In This Chapter

arrow Understanding how IR spectroscopy works

arrow Seeing the IR spectrum

arrow Identifying functional groups from IR spectra

Today, expert infrared (IR) spectroscopists are a lot like cowboys. It’s not that these chemists are cool like cowboys, or that they can hold their liquor like cowboys, or that they can beat up a buncha roughnecks in a saloon like cowboys, or even that they can attract the opposite sex like cowboys. Come to think of it, in most ways expert IR spectroscopists are the complete opposites of cowboys. But, like cowboys, expert IR spectroscopists are something of a dyin’ breed (insert soulful Country/Western dirge).

Over the past 40 years, the art of gleaning structural information from an IR spectrum has been slowly going the way of record players and LPs — which is to say that this art is reminisced about over snifters of brandy by old-timers when thinking about the way life was before such terrible modern contrivances as indoor plumbing, the polio vaccine, and NMR spectroscopy. Because before NMR spectroscopy became widespread, organic chemists were usually experienced enough in the art of IR spectroscopy to ...

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