Optical photothermal infrared spectroscopy with simultaneously acquired Raman spectroscopy for two-dimensional microplastic identification
in: Scientific Reports (2022)
In recent years, vibrational spectroscopic techniques based on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) or Raman microspectroscopy have been suggested to fulfill the unmet need for microplastic particle detection and identification. Inter-system comparison of spectra from reference polymers enables assessing the reproducibility between instruments and advantages of emerging quantum cascade laser-based optical photothermal infrared (O-PTIR) spectroscopy. In our work, IR and Raman spectra of nine plastics, namely polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, polycarbonate, polystyrene, silicone, polylactide acid and polymethylmethacrylate were simultaneously acquired using an O-PTIR microscope in non-contact, reflection mode. Comprehensive band assignments were presented. We determined the agreement of O-PTIR with standalone attenuated total reflection FTIR and Raman spectrometers based on the hit quality index (HQI) and introduced a two-dimensional identification (2D-HQI) approach using both Raman- and IR-HQIs. Finally, microplastic particles were prepared as test samples from known materials by wet grinding, O-PTIR data were collected and subjected to the 2D-HQI identification approach. We concluded that this framework offers improved material identification of microplastic particles in environmental, nutritious and biological matrices.