Spectral Library. FTIR Spectra



Spectral Library (also called Spectral Database) is a collections of spectra.

Spectral Library can be a collection of different kinds of spectra – infrared spectra,  NIR spectra,  Raman Spectra, mass spectra, atomic spectra etc.


Here we talk about FTIR Spectral Library – database of infrared spectra collected by FTIR instruments.


Some IR spectroscopists create their own spectral library. This is usefull if one works with limited number of compounds, for example in QC laboratory of company manufacturing 100 products or if you want to study newly synthetized or very unique compounds which are not present in any commercial spectral library.

If your application is unknown sample identification, if you study composition of competitive products and if you simply analyze many different sample kinds, it is usefull to buy a commercial spectral library.

Commercial spectral library is typically a collection of thousands infrared spectra. One from the infrared spectral library provider is NICODOM Ltd. 

Nicodom offers over 140000 infrared spectra in over 80 libraries in 10 different digital formats.

The Aldrich-Ichem and SBDS spectral library contain spectra of chemicals.

Spectral library of Polymers, Fibers, Coatings, Paintings, Pesticides, Pharmaceuticals, Drugs is also available as well as special library for forensic purpose (Suspect powders, Explosives, Hazardous compounds), Kidney Stones, Food Additives, Semiconductor Chemicals, Biochemicals, Cosmetic Ingredients, Dyes, Pigments, Stains and more.

Nicodom offer also Raman Spectral Library and NIR Spectral Library.


Visit http://www.nicodom.cz/ for more information and a free demo spectral library (download).


Spectral Library Format


Different software and instrument manufacturers use different digital library formats (you cannot use Bruker library with Thermo software etc.).

The spectral library format is different from single spectra format. The spectral library files includes many spectra in a few files.

For example by Thermo/Nicolet OMNIC software the single spectrum has an extension *.spa and each *.spa file includes one spectrum.

However the spectral library compatible with Thermo/Nicolet OMNIC software is saved in two files (extension *.lbd, *.lbt) no matter if you have 1 or 2 or 10000 spectra in it.

The commercial spectral library is usually coded and copy protected.

The mostly used digital searchable spectral library formats are:


Bomem: Grams (tm)  or Panorama (tm)

Bruker: OPUS (tm)


Midac: Grams (tm)

Nicolet / Thermo:  OMNIC TM and  Grams (tm)   (*.lbd, *.lbt and *.idx)

Perkin Elmer: Spectrum Search (tm)  (*.dlb, *.slb)

Shimadzu: IR Solution TM, Hyper-IR (tm)

Smiths Detection / SensIR

Digilab/BioRad/Varian: HaveItAll TM, Searchmaster TM, KnowItAll (tm)  (*.idx)

Mattson: Winfirst (tm)


Essential FTIR

Varian: Resolution (tm)  (*.bri)

Panorama (tm)


The mentioned special software („Search Software“) is usually a part of your instrument. The search software has a capability of comparing thousands of curves within seconds and suggest the most similar spectrum.


Additonallly, some spectra are also available in Adobe Acrobat Reader (tm) format (*.pdf). The *.pdf format is limited. You can display the spectra and the sample information, but you cannot automatically compare your unklnown spectrum with the spectral library.


The webpage http://www.nicodom.cz/  gives you detailed description of the libraries and their prices.

You can choose between general big libraries (e.g. Aldrich – Ichem Library of over 30000 spectra) or smaller special libraries.

The choice of suitable spectral library is important and depends on your application. If your laboratory focuses on one compound type (e.g. pesticides, dyes, polymers…), you better choose a special library than the general one. Universities or forensic laboratories usually choose general libraries.