Universitas Darussalam Gontor

The Role of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Analysis in the Field of Pharmacy


FTIR stands for Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. In Indonesian it is also referred to as Spektroskopi Inframerah Transformasi Fourier. FTIR is a technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption of a solid, liquid, or gas. Simply put, the working principle of FTIR is to identify compounds, detect functional groups, and analyze a given mixture or sample. 

Generally, FTIR is used for identifying organic compounds, both quantitatively and qualitatively. In quantitative research, FTIR is used to figure out an analyte concentration in a sample. In qualitative research, FTIR is used for identifying the functional groups that make up a compound. 

Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and chemical elements as well as the interactions of electronic stimuli, molecular vibrations, or the orientation of nuclear spin. One type of spectroscopy is infrared (IR) or FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy). This spectroscopy is based on the vibrations of a molecule. Infrared spectroscopy is a technique that observes the interaction of molecules with electromagnetic radiation over a range of wavelengths at a time (7,500-350 cm-1). 

FITR Working Principles

Fourier Transform Infrared (FT – IR) spectrometry was developed in order to overcome the limitations of dispersive instruments. The main difficulty with dispersive IR is the slow scanning process. A solution was developed using a very simple optical device called an interferometer. The interferometer generates a unique type of signal which has all infrared frequencies “encoded” into it. Signals can be measured very quickly. Thus, the required analysis time per sample is reduced to a few seconds.

FITR working principles are widely applied in various industries to fulfill specific needs and goals. Overall, FTIR is generally used in the field of pharmacy, for polymers & packaging, petrochemicals, forensics, oil & gas, drug abuse, research materials, and in many other areas.

FTIR has evolved a lot since its creation. It has been upgraded several times to make it easier for researchers to conduct research.

FTIR in Research Sector

A division that plays an important role in the pharmaceutical industry is the Research and Development sector. Raw pharmaceutical materials develop in line with current medical needs, so there is a lot of research being carried out by both the industry and academics that is focused on the synthesis of new medicinal ingredients. FT-IR is used as a marker / fingerprint of the drug ingredients that are created and can be further used as reference spectra when the raw materials are produced and marketed. 

In addition, FT-IR can be used to qualitatively study changes in chemical bonds within pharmaceutical preparations if the material is treated under certain conditions. If that is the case, the material can be used as a reference for information on treatments that should be avoided or modified during the drug manufacturing process.

This article is also available in Bahasa Indonesia: http://farmasi.unida.gontor.ac.id/2020/09/28/peran-fourier-transform-infrared-ft-ir-dalam-bidang-farmasi/

Written by: Syamna Meliana, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Science, University of Darussalam Gontor

Translator: Trey Spadone

Reviewer: M. Taufiq Affandi

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