What is FT-NIR? Near InfraRed spectroscopy explained and advantages using NIR technology?

In this guide on FT-NIR spectroscopy, we will cover what you need to know about FT-NIR spectroscopy, its applications, and how it can be used to optimize your manufacturing processes.

Near InfraRed Spectroscopy (NIR) is a powerful analytical technique utilizing the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum (typically 700 nm to 2500 nm). It is a powerful analytical technique providing valuable information about the chemical composition of your samples. This non-destructive method is widely employed in various fields including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and chemical industries for qualitative and quantitative analysis. Its versatility, speed, and non-destructive nature makes it ideal for use in various industries. By using FT-NIR spectroscopy to monitor and control your manufacturing processes, you can improve the quality of your products, reduce waste, and increase profitability.

What is FT-NIR spectroscopy?

FT-NIR spectroscopy stands for Fourier Transform Near-InfraRed spectroscopy. It is a non-destructive analytical technique that uses the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum to obtain information about a sample’s chemical composition. FT-NIR spectroscopy can be used to identify, quantify, and analyse a wide range of organic and nonorganic compounds in various matrices.

Principles of NIR

NIR spectroscopy works on the principle of molecular overtone and combination vibrations. Unlike mid-infrared spectroscopy, which involves fundamental vibrations, NIR deals with overtones and combinations of these vibrations. When a sample is exposed to NIR light, the specific wavelengths are absorbed by the sample’s molecules, causing vibrational transitions. The resulting absorption spectrum provides detailed information about the molecular composition of the sample.

How does FT-NIR spectroscopy work? How does NIR work?

FT-NIR spectroscopy measures the absorption or transmission of near-infrared light by a sample. The sample is placed in the path of the light beam, and the light interacts with the sample’s molecules. The molecules absorb some of the light at specific wavelengths, which are characteristic of the chemical bonds present in the sample.

FT-NIR spectroscopy uses a Fourier transform to convert the signal from the detector into a spectrum, which contains information about the wavelengths absorbed by the sample. The spectrum is then analysed to identify and quantify the compounds present in the sample.

What are the advantages of FT-NIR spectroscopy?

FT-NIR spectroscopy has several advantages over other analytical techniques:

  1. It is non-destructive:
    • FT-NIR spectroscopy does not require sample preparation, and it is a non-destructive technique. This means that the sample can be analysed without altering its chemical composition, and it can be used for quality control of finished products.
  2. It is a fast technology
    • FT-NIR spectroscopy is a fast technique providing results in real-time. This makes it ideal for process monitoring and control.
  3. It is versatile
    • FT-NIR spectroscopy can be used to analyse a wide range of samples, including solids, liquids, and gases. It can also be used to analyse complex mixtures, such as pharmaceutical formulations and food products. Meaning you can use the same technology and base analyser for endless types of samples.

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    Who can use FT-NIR (near infrared) spectroscopy?

    FT-NIR spectroscopy can be used for analysis of numerous samples in various industries. For the pharmaceutical industry FT-NIR spectroscopy can be used for the analysis of drug formulations, including tablets, capsules, and powders. For chemical industry FT-NIR spectroscopy can be used for the analysis of chemical compounds, including polymers and plastics.

    For the dairy industry see some of the advantages of FT-NIR below:

    Analyse your milk at-line and in-line with Q-Interline's NIR-solutions
    1. Analyse the composition of milk, providing information on the fat, protein, and lactose content. This information can be used to optimize milk production and ensure consistent product quality.
    2. Analyse feed, allowing dairy farmers to optimize their feed formulations and improve milk production.
    3. Quality control of dairy products, ensuring consistent product quality and reducing waste.

    Also, the agricultural industry can gain many advantages of using FT-NIR spectroscopy:

    Harvesting a field. Analytical solutions for agricultural products
    1. Soil analysis, providing information on the nutrient content, pH, and organic matter content. This information can help farmers optimize their fertilizer use and improve crop yields.
    2. Analysis of forage, allowing farmers to optimise their feed formulations and ensure the health and productivity of their livestock.
    3. Assess the quality of seeds, identifying defects and ensuring optimal germination rates.

    Finally, here are some advantages of FT-NIR spectroscopy for the food & ingredients industry:

    Food and ingredients - product analysis with Quant and InSight Pro from Q-Interline
    1. Analysis of food ingredients, including fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. This information can be used to optimize formulations and ensure consistent product quality.
    2. Real-time process monitoring of food production, allowing manufacturers to make adjustments to optimize efficiency and quality.
    3. Quality control of finished food products, ensuring that products meet regulatory standards and are safe for consumption.
    4. Authentication of food products, helping to detect fraudulent or adulterated products.
    5. Shelf-life prediction of food products by monitoring chemical changes that occur over time. This information can be used to optimize storage and distribution logistics.

    How can FT-NIR spectroscopy help optimize your manufacturing processes?

    FT-NIR spectroscopy can help optimize your manufacturing processes by providing real-time information about the chemical composition of your products. This information can be used to monitor and control your manufacturing processes, ensuring that your products are of consistent quality.

    FT-NIR spectroscopy can also be used for process monitoring, allowing you to identify and correct issues before they become critical. This can help reduce waste and improve efficiency, leading to cost savings and increased profitability.

    NIR spectroscopy is the technology in all Q-Interline’s analytical solutions.

    NIR Spectrometer - near infrared spectroscopy with Quant analyser. Many sampling options.

    The NIR spectrometer Quant analyser is based on 2nd-generation FT NIR technology – meaning that high spectral performance is guaranteed while making a low amount of noise. Our NIR instruments vary in scope, size, and central value it brings to the user. We develop, produce and patent a vast variety of accessories to handle analysis of close to all kinds of materials and samples both in laboratory and directly in the process. But the base analyser – the Quant NIR spectrometer – remains the same with the same technology.

    Using this NIR spectrometer as the engine, for instance in our highly rated products the DairyQuant Go and InSight Pro, provides the flexible and rigid skeleton of our technological solutions.

    NIR spectrometer requires little maintenance

    Our NIR spectrometer engine is a technical solution requiring little to no maintenance with high lifetime expectancy element of technology. Both the laser and the light source have an expected lifetime of 10 years, and there is a 3 years warranty on the instrument hardware.

    Besides the high-level warranty, the NIR spectrometer is not subject to using any form of chemical components. If you find yourself curious, whether it is about the lack of chemicals in your lab or the unmatched spectral quality overall, do not hesitate to contact us.

    Presenting the sample to the NIR spectrometer

    We know how important the right knowledge and the right equipment are to applying representative sampling. Ensuring that the results escape contamination and other sampling errors is central – that also means, that the ease of use, which is made possible by the Quant, can decrease risks in error and inaccuracies. The methods to how the samples are presented to the NIR spectrometer developed by Q-Interline are results of years in development combined with decades of experience, driving the power of NIR spectrometer to its full potential.

    You can conduct analysis of liquid samples, powdered samples, and solid samples both in laboratory and in process. Sample presentation methods includes use of Petri SamplerCup Sampler, Bottle Sampler, Spiral Sampler, and Pivettes®.

    Near InfraRed Spectroscopy (NIR) vs InfraRed Spectroscopy (IR)

    InfraRed (IR) spectroscopy and Near InfraRed (NIR) spectroscopy are two widely used techniques for the analysis of materials, both relying on the interaction of infrared light with matter. While they share some similarities, they differ significantly in terms of their principles, applications, and spectral regions.

    How does InfraRed (IR) spectroscopy work?

    IR spectroscopy involves the use of the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically ranging from 2500 nm to 25000 nm (4000 to 400 cm⁻¹). This technique is based on the absorption of IR radiation by molecules, leading to vibrational transitions within the molecules.

    • Fundamental vibrations: IR spectroscopy is primarily concerned with fundamental vibrational transitions of molecules.
    • Detailed structural information: It provides detailed information about the molecular structure and functional groups present in a sample.
    • Applications: Commonly used for identifying organic compounds, studying molecular structures, and investigating chemical reactions.

    How does Near InfraRed (NIR) spectroscopy work?

    NIR spectroscopy uses the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically from 700 nm to 2500 nm (14000 to 4000 cm⁻¹). This technique is based on the absorption of NIR radiation, which causes overtones and combination bands of molecular vibrations.

    • Overtones and Combination Bands: NIR spectroscopy deals with higher-order vibrational transitions (overtones) and combinations of fundamental vibrations.
    • Rapid and Non-Destructive: It allows for quick, non-destructive analysis with minimal sample preparation.
    • Applications: Widely used in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and chemical industries for both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

    Comparing NIR and IR spectroscopy

    Spectral regions

    • IR spectroscopy: Operates in the mid-infrared range (2500 nm to 25000 nm).
    • NIR spectroscopy: Operates in the near-infrared range (700 nm to 2500 nm).

    Type of vibrational transitions

    • IR spectroscopy: Involves fundamental vibrational transitions.
    • NIR spectroscopy: Involves overtones and combination bands of these vibrations.

    Sample preparation

    • IR spectroscopy: Often requires more extensive sample preparation, including creating thin films or pellets.
    • NIR spectroscopy: Requires minimal to no sample preparation, making it faster and more convenient.

    Analysis speed

    • IR spectroscopy: Typically slower due to the need for extensive sample preparation and detailed analysis.
    • NIR spectroscopy: Provides rapid results, suitable for real-time monitoring and process control.


    • IR spectroscopy: Ideal for detailed structural analysis, identifying functional groups, and studying chemical reactions.
    • NIR spectroscopy: Suited for routine analysis, quality control, and monitoring of both raw materials and final products.

    Advantages of NIR spectroscopy in short

    • Non-destructive and rapid analysis.
    • Minimal sample preparation.
    • Capable of analyzing multiple components simultaneously.

    Contact us today to hear more about our NIR solutions

    Get your NIR spectrometer from Q-Interline. Quality products and customer support come above all else. Our state-of-the-art FT NIR spectrometer engine – the Quant – is the basis for all our products, and your experience of the power and precision of the instrument mean the world to us.

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