Attenuated Total Reflection Infrared (ATR-IR) Spectroscopy of a Water-in-Oil Emulsion

Johannes Kiefer, Kerstin Frank, Heike P. Schuchmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions are of great interest in many areas including food technology and the oil and gas industry. However, the molecular mechanisms that lead to a stable emulsion are yet to be fully understood. In this article, the potential of attenuated total reflection (ATR) infrared (IR) spectroscopy for studying the influence of an emulsifier on the molecular water structure in a thin layer at the w/o interface is demonstrated. For this purpose, IR spectra from a bilberry extract w/o emulsion are analyzed. The thickness of the probed water layer is estimated to he below 0.5 mu m, which is well below the droplet diameter. The IR spectra recorded in aqueous solution and the w/o emulsion reveal a strengthening of the intramolecular covalent O-H bonds in the presence of the emulsifier, which in turn indicates a change in the hydrogen bond network in terms of weakening the intermolecular interactions in the water layer at the interface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1028
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Spectroscopy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Attenuated total reflection spectroscopy
  • ATR spectroscopy
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • FT-IR spectroscopy
  • Water-in-oil emulsion
  • Water structure
  • Hydrogen bond


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