Frequently Asked Questions


  • My laboratory has an infrared spectrometer and/or infrared microscope. What are the advantages of collecting data at Mid-IR Beamline

Compared to a standard lab spectrometer that collects a spectrum averaged over a large area, the imaging microscope at Mid-IR collects a map of infrared spectra. Visit the About pages to find out specifics about the instruments at Mid-IR

Other advantages?

  • High spatial resolution
  • Excellent signal to noise
  • Large field of view
  • Fast Data collection
  • Access to infrared expertise for data collection and analysis

  • Our group has never done infrared spectromicroscopy before – is it appropriate to use the CLS for our research?

Yes! It is a goal is to attract new users to the CLS and expand the user community. Please contact us to discuss!

  • What wavelengths does Mid-IR beamline cover

The Mid-IR beamline covers 560 - 6000 cm ⁻¹  ( 70 - 744 meV )

  • How long will it take to measure an IR map/image of my sample

The length of time required to collect an infrared image or mosaic will really depend on the size of the region of interest and the collection parameters (resolution, # of scans, binning, etc). You can estimate the time using the estimator Wizard.

  • I want to run the same sample at multiple beamlines, can I do that?

You sure can! We collaborate with many of the x-ray beamlines. Please contact us to discuss specific experiments.


  • How do I answer "need for IR synchrotron radiation?"

When using mid-infrared radiation, the only advantage provided by a synchrotron source is given by its high brightness. Brightness is critical when performing mapping and spectromicroscopy experiments requiring diffraction limited spatial resolution and high signal/noise ratio. Your proposal must explain clearly why your scientific problem requires such performance. Two examples of experimental situations that satisfy this requirement:

  • How do I make efficient use of beam time?

Create a detailed experimental plan. List samples in order of priority, plan number and locations of region of interest, understand data collected from complimentary techniques.

If this is your first time doing synchrotron or infrared spectromicroscopy measurements discuss with collaborators or colleagues and beamline staff about your plan and whether or not is it reasonable.

Sample Preparation

  • Do I need to microtome my samples?

The CLS has a microtome on site that can you can use. Please indicate in your GUP proposal you would like to use it and contact beamline staff to discuss details.

  • Can I wash my IR windows?

Yes, accept for barium fluoride windows. IR windows can be reused a few times before they become scratched. Wash with water or ?? and dry gently with lens tissue.

  • How thick should my sample be?

Sample thickness generally depends on the measurement mode (transmission, ATR, etc). For transmission 5 - 10 µm sample thickness if possible; in ATR and reflectance the IR light does not transmit through the sample, and other parameters such as roughness are more critical. The sample section has more information and please contact us about specific sample requirements.

Mail-in/Remote Access

  • My beamtime is coming up, how do I choose between mail-in and remote access?

Currently, we recommend remote access whenever possible. Please contact us and we will discuss the specifics of your experiment.

  • My samples need to be refrigerated or frozen, is this possible?

No problem! Please indicate on your shipping forms and inform us ahead of time. There are options of

  • Refrigerator (5 °C)
  • Freezer (-20 °C)
  • Extra cold freezer (-80 °C)


  • How do I analyze the infrared data collected?

The CLS Mid-IR Beamline uses, develops and supports, Quasar -- an open-source collection of spectroscopic data analysis toolboxes extending the Orange machine learning and data visualization suite.\cite{orange2013} The suite of powerful tools has visual data analysis workflows to support novice and expert users alike in creating dynamic and reproducible data pipelines which integrate spectral processing, hyperspectral maps and multivariate analysis.

More information can be found here.

  • I have my own data analysis routines written in python, can I use them in Quasar?

Yes! Please check out the custom codes section for information on how to implement your routines.