Analysis of Microplastics Using a Laser-Based IR Analyzer

Analyzing Microplastics in the Environment
Oral Presentation

Prepared by L. Tisinger
Agilent Technologies, 201 Hansen Court, Suite 108, Wood Dale, IL, 60191, Andorra

Contact Information: [email protected]; 630-306-7304


Analysis of microplastics using infrared spectroscopy is a very good way to analyze particles due to the specificity of IR spectra; an IR spectrum is a molecular “fingerprint”. Particles larger than 100 micrometers can be interrogated using macro sampling interfaces, such as attenuated total reflectance (ATR). Smaller particles, i.e., those which cannot be visualized unaided, require more sophisticated techniques for sampling, such as a microscope, which provides the means to see particles under high magnification, facilitating optimization of instrument parameters for collection of IR spectra. Fortunately, technologies, which include automated single-point microscopes and imaging systems - both linear array and focal plane array - streamline the process of measuring particle spectra. However, identification via library searching tends to be a distinct step in the MP workflow of these systems, and, more importantly, instrument operation requires significant technical knowledge to conduct high-quality measurements. To that end, a new technology has emerged which automates the entire microplastics analysis workflow: a quantum cascade laser (QCL)-based analyzer. This presentation will discuss details on the operation of the system and will describe the simple microplastics analysis workflow.