IRTracer-100 - FTIR Spectrophotometer

The IRTracer-100 FTIR Spectrophotometer from Shimadzu has an enhanced interferometer and detector design, and it offers excellent sensitivity with a 60,000:1 S/N ratio. When the LabSolutions IR Contaminant Analysis Macro is combined with the sensitivity; faster, easier, and more precise analysis of small samples can be performed.

The IRTracer-100 system can be customized by the user, with a range of accessories and user-friendly software options to meet the needs of a specific application.

Key Features

The main features of the IRTracer-100 FTIR Spectrophotometer are as follows:

  • High resolution, sensitivity and speed - Highest SN ratio in its class at 60,000:1, 0.25 cm-1 resolution, and high-speed scanning capable of 20 spectra/second
  • Obtains high-resolution spectra with a 0.25 cm-1 resolution setting
  • Realizes high-speed analysis with a 20 Hz rapid scan feature
  • Dependable high performance
  • Integrated with advanced dynamic alignment; enables the removal of influence caused by environmental variations; allows the FTIR to be powered off when not in use; minimal warm-up times and enhanced stability; and maintenance-free system
  • Integrated automatic dehumidifier allows for easy maintenance
  • Advanced workstation with a fast, easy-to-use LabSolutions IR Series Software
  • LabSolutions IR Programs or Windows applications can be run easily with the Dedicated LabSolutions IR Launcher.


The IRTracer-100 FTIR Spectrophotometer is used in many areas including, but not limited to:

  • High-speed monitoring of curing reaction in UV-irradiated resin by quick scan
  • Examining of additives in plastics
  • Pharmaceuticals - raw material identification testing
  • Cosmetics - analysis of contaminants
  • Food products - packaging material identification
  • Environmental - water analysis, gas analysis, soil analysis etc.
  • Chemicals and polymer analysis
  • Electrical, electronics and semiconductors
  • Automobile - Failure analysis
  • Metals analysis
  • Construction

FTIR-ATR Spectroscopy Analysis of Additives in Plastics

Polymers, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are the main components of commercially available plastic products, which also contain other additives in trace quantities to improve performance and maintain quality. This article discusses the analysis of additives used in plastic bags by exploiting the high S/N ratio of the Shimadzu FTIR IRTracer-100 spectrophotometer.

Shimadzu IRTracer-100 FTIR Spectrophotometer and ATR Attachment MIRacle A

Single reflection ATR is widely used an IR spectroscopy technique for easy, non-destructive analysis of additives in plastic products. This method enables measurements to be carried out without any sample pretreatment, making it suitable for a number of applications, including contaminant determination.

As the depth of penetration of the infrared light into the surface of the sample is on the order of a few microns, the ATR method is ideally suited for additives localized on the surface of the sample. The target component’s peak intensity in the measured infrared spectrum will reduce when its content ratio becomes smaller. Therefore, an instrument with a high S/N ratio needs to be used to obtain better evaluation results.

The Shimadzu FTIR IRTracer-100 has a high S/N ratio of 60000:1, providing clear and stable peak information even for additives in trace quantities.

MIRacle A Single Reflection ATR Accessory

Figure 1. MIRacle A Single Reflection ATR Accessory


The single reflection ATR method was used to measure the surface of commercially available plastic bags (Figure 2).

Plastic bags

Figure 2. Plastic bags

Table 1 lists the measurement conditions and Figure 3 shows the measurement results and spectrum search results.

Table 1. FTIR measurement conditions

Instruments IRTracer-100, MIRacle A (Diamond prizm – ZnSe support element)
Resolution 4 cm-1
Accumulation 20
Apodization Happ-Genzel
Detector DLATGS


Infrared spectrum and search result for plastic bag

Figure 3. Infrared spectrum and search result for plastic bag

The analysis results agree well with the library spectrum of polyethylene, suggesting that the main component in the product is polyethylene. An expanded view in the vicinity of the baseline of Figure 3 is shown in Figure 4.

The arrow-indicated peaks in Figure 4 are believed to be obtained from additives used in the plastic bags. The results are in good agreement with the spectra of aliphatic amides such as oleamide. Aliphatic amides are added to resins to serve as lubricants.

Expanded infrared spectrum of Figure 3 and spectrum of oleamide

Figure 4. Expanded infrared spectrum of Figure 3 and spectrum of oleamide

Once the measurement shown in Figure 3 was completed, the sample was taken away from the ATR prism, and another measurement was carried out without washing the prism. The measurement results presented in Figure 5 are similar to the spectrum of the aliphatic amide depicted in Figure 4, suggesting that the additive in the sample is transferred to the ATR prism.

Infrared spectrum of substance transferred to ATR prism

Figure 5. Infrared spectrum of substance transferred to ATR prism

The peaks connected to the aliphatic amide that became visible in the measurement results of Figures 4 and 5, respectively, exhibit very weak intensity with absorbance values below 0.010 A. A peak is also observed at around 1631 cm-1, a region that clearly highlights the presence of water vapor in the air.

The assumption that the measurement system did not require dry air or nitrogen gas purging allowed these minute peaks to be clearly detected.

Investigation of Repeatability of Small Peaks

The content level can be determined using the area and height value of the peak obtained from the target component, but the measurement repeatability is critical for small peaks obtained from additives.

Ten repeat measurements were carried out continuously with a plastic bag sample in close contact with the ATR prism. The peak area values of the peak at around 1631 cm-1 and the measured CV values are presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Peak area and CV values

    IRPrestige-21   IRTracer-100
Area value   No. of
20 times
  No. of
1 times
  No. of
20 times
  No. of
1 times
  1.034   0.956   1.039   1.034
  1.049   1.006   1.025   1.021
  1.034   1.138   1.015   0.957
  1.008   1.052   1.006   0.952
  1.029   0.888   0.991   1.055
  0.967   0.974   0.996   1.055
  0.983   0.965   1.001   0.940
  0.967   0.970   0.972   0.995
  0.972   1.038   0.972   0.995
  0.957   1.011   0.982   0.995
CV value %   3.46   6.72   2.19   4.16


The integration was repeatedly conducted for twenty times and one time, and the resulting values were compared with the respective values acquired using the Shimadzu IRPrestige-21.

The better stability of the measurement results provided by the IRTracer-100 is due to its higher S/N ratio.


This article has discussed an evaluation of additives present in trace quantities in the plastic resin. Thanks to the high S/N ratio of the Shimadzu FTIR IRTracer-100, minute peaks originating from these additives were clearly and reliably acquired.

Other Equipment by this Supplier