Infrared Spectroscopy: A story of vibrations

Time to complete course: 18 min.

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About Infrared Spectroscopy: A story of vibrations Virtual Lab Simulation

Begin familiarizing yourself with the different components of an infrared spectrometer by interacting with engaging mini-games. Captivating images and scientifically accurate analogies will turn infrared spectroscopy into an understandable and appealing topic!

How does an infrared spectrometer work?
It may not be your main focus, but can you really understand this technique without knowing about the instrument? In this simulation, you’ll first be introduced to the general structure and functionality of the main parts of an infrared spectrometer. You’ll explore how light travels through the instrument while testing your understanding with engaging questions and quizzes.
Then it’s time to get started with the theory of vibrations.

Functional groups and vibrational modes
While looking at 3D models of different molecules, you’ll be given the possibility to scan through the infrared wavelength range. In this way, you’ll identify the characteristic vibrational modes related to the molecule’s structure and see the models vibrate in real life. If imagining vibrations has always been a pain point for you, this activity will help you overcome these difficulties.

Stretching and bending
In the next activity, you’ll get to interact directly with 3D vibrating molecules. You’ll get to distinguish between stretching and bending – and symmetrical and asymmetrical vibration – for a more complete understanding of vibrational modes.

Reading a spectrum
The final part of the experience will focus on reading a spectrum and assigning the correct functional group to the related peak. To mimic a real-life experience, you’ll be also asked to compare a spectrum with three examples from the literature and decide which one matches the compound of interest.

Get Started Now

Dive into a virtual laboratory to discover the secrets of infrared spectroscopy. From the introduction of different vibrational modes to the interpretation of real-life spectra, mastering this technique will be child’s play.

Techniques in Lab

  • Infrared spectrometry
  • Michelson interferometer
  • Stretching and bending
  • Symmetric and asymmetric vibrations

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the theory behind IR, covering variations in dipolar momentum in vibrations from a qualitative point of view
  • Interpret the IR spectrum of simple organic molecules
  • Analyze the three basic components of an infrared spectrometer: radiation source, monochromator and detector

Simulation Features

Length – 18 minutes
Accessibility mode – Not Available
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


US College Year 1
US College Year 2
Early Stage Bachelors Level

Screenshots of Infrared Spectroscopy: A story of vibrations Virtual Lab Simulation


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