Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR): Applications in Archaeology
Few techniques for chemical analysis are as rapid and informative as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). FTIR can be used to identify and compare sample compositions and in a quantitative fashion to determine the concentration of different components of a mixture (Smith 1999: 1). Its popularity in the field of conservation reflects attributes that make the technique appealing for many archaeological applications as well, including the small amount of sample required for analysis (milligrams or micrograms) and the fact that samples can be organic or inorganic and have a crystalline or amorphous structure. Its wide applicability makes FTIR a particular asset to nearly any professional archaeology laboratory as it can aid in determining the composition of such materials as fired clays, bone and tooth enamel, wood ash, fibers and dyes, plasters, and resins.
Infrared spectroscopy (IR) is used to identify the functional groups that are the building blocks of...
Special thanks to Don Mullally of MIDAC Corporation (Costa Mesa, CA, USA) for providing information on current MIDAC products and pricing. Rebecca Whelan and Jason Haugen offered helpful comments on this entry.
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