E24: Interpretation of Infrared and Raman Spectra

Two-Day Course
Dates to be announced; 8:30am – 5:00pm
Dr. Peter Larkin, Solvay, Stamford, CT
Dr. Mary Carrabba, Rogue Spectroscopy, LLC, Sparks, NV

Infrared, Raman, NMR, and mass spectroscopies are essential techniques to elucidate chemical structure, and all enjoy widespread usage.  Innovations in vibrational spectroscopy (IR and Raman) capabilities and data analysis tools along with improved affordability have dramatically increased the user base.  Unfortunately, this is often at the expense of a foundational understanding of IR and Raman spectroscopy.  The ability to understand and identify functional groups by interpreting IR and Raman spectra is essential for the successful use of these vibrational spectroscopy techniques. This two-day course introduces the art and science of interpreting IR and Raman spectra.  The course content focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of group frequencies and a general strategy to analyze the spectra, as well as applying the lessons learned to determine molecular structure using both IR and Raman spectra.   A discussion of digital library searching for unknown identification and a current list of useful resources are also included.   The lectures are supplemented with multiple well-illustrated examples as well as in-class spectral problem sets under the guidance of highly experienced industrial spectroscopists.

This course will benefit anyone currently using IR and/or Raman spectroscopy


1: Foundational Principles
a. Introduction
b. Basic principles
c. Environmental dependence of spectra
d. Hydrogen bonding
e. Fermi resonance

2: Origin of Group Frequencies
a. Linear triatomics: coupled oscillator (asymmetric and symmetric stretch)
b. Bent triatomics: coupled oscillator (bond angle & chain length dependence)
c. Rules of thumb for coupled oscillator combinations

3:  Strategies and Resources
a. Software based qualitative analysis
b. Identification using IR spectral searches
c. General strategies and resources


Peter Larkin has a Ph.D. with over thirty years industrial experience in large analytical groups.  Specialty chemicals and big pharma (IR, NIR, Raman spectroscopy). Managerial and quality management experience.  He is a recognized expert in vibrational spectroscopy; Research advisor, Sanford Asher (University of Pittsburgh); Industrial mentor, Norman B Colthup (American Cyanamid, Cytec); and has presented and been published extensively.

Mary Carrabba has a Ph.D. with over thirty years experience in: Government (FBI Laboratory); Industry (HP Inkjet – Failure Analysis & Analytical Chemistry Engineer); Academia (SOU – Asst. Prof. of Analytical & Forensic Chemistry); and Consulting (Rogue Spectroscopy, LLC)