What is the basic principle of IR spectroscopy?

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IR radiation does not have enough energy to induce electronic transitions as seen with UV. Absorption of IR is restricted to compounds with small energy differences in the possible vibrational and rotational states.
For a molecule to absorb IR, the vibrations or rotations within a molecule must cause a net change in the dipole moment of the molecule. The alternating electrical field of the radiation (remember that electromagnetic radation consists of an oscillating electrical field and an oscillating magnetic field, perpendicular to each other) interacts with fluctuations in the dipole moment of the molecule. If the frequency of the radiation matches the vibrational frequency of the molecule then radiation will be absorbed, causing a change in the amplitude of molecular vibration.


































Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between radiation (electromagnetic radiation, or light, as well as particle radiation) and matter. Spectrometry is the measurement of these interactions and an instrument which performs such measurements is a spectrometer or spectrograph. A plot of the interaction is referred to as a spectrum.
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