Identification of Microplastics using an FTIR-ATR

Background on Microplastic Analysis using FTIR-ATR:

Microplastics are considered a major environmental concern because they can be present in various bodies of water across the world. They can be found in seawater, freshwater, and even in bottled water.

Some of the most often found microplastics are polypropylene and polyethylene. Polyethylene is commonly used to make plastic bags and polypropylene can be often found in food packaging material.

Method for Measuring Microplastics using FTIR-ATR:

ATR Microplastic Sample
Figure 1. ATR Microplastic Sample
Polyethylene Spectra
Figure 2. Polyethylene Spectra


Once the measurement is completed, we can see that the peaks come out very nicely in a very short time of collection. Next, the spectrum then is sent to a search algorithm that is going to identify what is the possible material. The sample was identified as polypropylene.