Infrared microspectroscopy utilizing an optical microscope coupled with appropriate optics for recording infrared spectra has two advantages over “standard” microsampling techniques: (1) elimination or reduced time for specimen preparation and (2) infrared spectra can be recorded on specific microscopic regions of a specimen. Applications of the technique to polymeric materials are presented to demonstrate its advantages and its value as an analytical tool in the field of polymer science. Examples include (1) identification of gels or inclusions in a polyethylene film, (2) molecular structure differences due to branching in a bimodal morphology of spherulite sizes in an ethylene/olefin copolymer, (3) comparison of attenuated total reflectance and microtransmittance data obtained for polymer laminates, and (4) the identification of the composition of a “streaked” area in a polymer film which coats the surface of some aluminum foil.
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