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In silico NIR spectroscopy – A review. Molecular fingerprint, interpretation of calibration models, understanding of matrix effects and instrumental difference

Research Paper


Quantum mechanical calculations are routinely used as a major support in mid-infrared (MIR) and Raman spectroscopy. In contrast, practical limitations for long time formed a barrier to developing a similar synergy between near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and computational chemistry. Recent advances in theoretical methods suitable for calculation of NIR spectra opened the pathway to modeling NIR spectra of various molecules. Accurate theoretical reproduction of NIR spectra of molecules reaching the size of long-chain fatty acids was accomplished so far. In silico NIR spectroscopy, where the spectra are calculated ab initio, provides substantial improvement in our understanding of the overtones and combination bands that overlap in staggering numbers and create complex lineshape typical for NIR spectra. This improves the comprehension of the spectral information enabling access to rich and detail molecular footprint, essential for fundamental research and useful in routine analysis by NIR spectroscopy and chemometrics. This review article summarizes the most recent accomplishments in the emerging field with examples of simulated NIR spectra of molecules reaching long-chain fatty acids and polymers. In addition to detailed NIR band assignments and new physical insights, simulated spectra enable innovative support in applications. Understanding of the difference in the performance observed between miniaturized NIR spectrometers and chemical interpretation of the chemometric models are noteworthy here. These new elements integrated into NIR spectroscopy framework enable a knowledge-based design of the analysis with comprehension of the processed chemical information.

Published in: 
Science Direct
NIR Technology
Date of Publication: 
June 3, 2022
Krzysztof B. Beć / Justyna Grabska / Christian W. Huck
University of Innsbruck
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