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Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy is an instrumental analysis technique that identifies functional groups in a molecule by producing an infrared absorption spectrum. These functional groups absorb specific frequencies of IR radiation, and, when plotted, give a unique spectrum for every molecular structure. When we discuss the IR spectroscopy of citric acid, we can identify several important peaks due to its structure. Citric acid or C6H8O7 is a tricarboxylic acid that contains three carboxyl (-COOH) groups and a hydroxyl (-OH) group. 1. Around 3200 - 2500 cm^-1: This is the range where we expect to see broad peaks due to O-H stretching vibrations of hydroxyl and carboxyl groups. O-H bonds in carboxylic acids are quite polar and so absorb quite strongly. 2. Around 1700 cm^-1: There should be a sharp peak due to C=O stretching vibrations in the carboxyl groups. 3. Around 1200 - 1300 cm^-1: There should be peaks due to C-O stretching vibrations. Remember, in practice, the exact wave numbers may vary a bit and should be used as a guide. Always compare your data to the spectra of known references. Keep in mind that IR spectroscopy only gives clues to the molecular structure, and conclusions should be made with supporting information from other techniques. Additionally, the type of sample (solid, liquid, gas) and sample preparation can affect the outcomes of IR spectroscopy. If you're performing or interpreting these spectra, consult with a spectroscopy textbook or a reliable online resource, or seek advice from an experienced chemist.
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