Emily Brouillet

Project title: Characterization of Minerals in Ultramafic Rock Systems Using FTIR Spectroscopy

Mentor: Dawn Cardace

Abstract: Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy has been utilized in the scientific community for decades, for identification and characterization of diverse solids, both mineral and organic. In general, the analysis of a compound with FTIR can allow identification of the substance by comparing peak absorption patterns. Depending on the molecular make-up of a substance, it absorbs the infrared light at specific wavelengths, creating a characteristic pattern of absorption peaks. FTIR has helped in a wide range of research, from the analysis of martian dust (Maxe, 2007) to classification and identification of bacteria (Helm et al., 1991). This project’s goal was to develop a set of in house mineral standards for which specific peak absorption patterns are known and documented, with reference to best available data in the literature.  This work will allow researchers to identify specific mineral components in complex natural mixtures.