ATR-FTIR analysis

Attenuated total reflectance (ATR) is one of the most common FTIR analysis sampling techniques, enabling fast characterization of various sample types with minimal preparation.

  • Fast turnaround times
  • Personal service from method experts
  • Competitive prices
  • Result accuracy guarantee

What is ATR-FTIR used for?

ATR-FTIR is used in various research areas and industries to obtain information on the chemical components of a sample. Examples of ATR-FTIR applications include material identification in the plastics industry, pharmaceutical industry quality control, and biological research. The method is also used for chemical characterization in industries including consumer goods, food, fuel, and biorefinery.

How does attenuated total reflection work?

The ATR-FTIR apparatus consists of an infrared light source, a detector, and a crystal with a high refractive index, such as diamond, germanium, or zinc selenide. The sample is placed on the crystal and infrared light is directed at it. The light passes through the crystal and partially penetrates into the sample, where some of it is absorbed in an area called the evanescent field. 

The rest of the light is reflected to the detector, where it is detected, allowing an FTIR-ATR spectrum to be produced. When compared with a library of known spectra, the obtained spectrum can help identify the sample's chemical composition.

The advantages of using ATR in FTIR sampling.

ATR allows for a wide variety of sample types, including liquids, solids, powders, and solutions, to be tested whilst creating consistent, reproducible results. It generally requires very little sample preparation compared with other forms of FTIR and only requires a small amount of sample to produce high-quality results. In most cases, the sample can be recovered after analysis, and cleaning the equipment is also straightforward.

Single-reflection vs. multi-reflection ATR sensors

In most ATR-FTIR spectrometers, the infrared light is reflected from the surface boundary a single time before being detected. Multi-reflection ATR sensors have a larger crystal which allows the light to reflect multiple times before being detected. The benefit of this is that it can increase the sensitivity for particularly weak absorbances, making it ideal for harder-to-detect chemical groups, and for testing low-concentration solutions.

Need an analysis?

Measurlabs offers a wide range of chemical analysis services with methods including FTIR-ATR, HPLC-MS, NMR spectroscopy, and many others. You can request a quote for your material using the form below. One of our testing experts will take ownership of your project and get back to you within one business day.

Suitable sample matrices

  • Powders
  • Solid objects
  • Liquids
  • Solutions

Ideal uses of FTIR-ATR

  • Identification of unknown compounds
  • Quality control of consumer goods
  • Biological research
  • Microplastic identification

Ask for an offer

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Answering the following questions helps us prepare an offer for you faster:

  • How many samples do you have and what is the sample material?
  • Do you have a recurring need for these tests? If yes, how often and for how many samples at a time?

Have questions or need help? Email us at or call +358 50 336 6128.

Frequently asked questions

What is ATR-FTIR analysis used for?

ATR-FTIR can be used to analyze the chemical composition of solid and liquid sample materials, including polymers, pharmaceuticals, fuels, and food.

What are the advantages of ATR-FTIR?

The ATR-FTIR setup yields consistent, reliable, and comparable results quickly with little to no sample preparation.

What is Measurlabs?

Measurlabs offers a variety of laboratory analyses for product developers and quality managers. We perform some of the analyses in our own lab, but mostly we outsource them to carefully selected partner laboratories. This way we can send each sample to the lab that is best suited for the purpose, and offer high-quality analyses with more than a thousand different methods to our clients.

How does the service work?

When you contact us through our contact form or by email, one of our specialists will take ownership of your case and answer your query. You get an offer with all the necessary details about the analysis, and can send your samples to the indicated address. We will then take care of sending your samples to the correct laboratories and write a clear report on the results for you.

How do I send my samples?

Samples are usually delivered to our laboratory via courier. Contact us for further details before sending samples.