A critical factor in identifying the source of a microplastic particle is the additives used to enhance polymer performance. PerkinElmer’s family of advanced Infrared (IR) spectroscopy solutions can be used for polymer identification and quantitation as well as the identification of organic and inorganic additives. From the Spotlight™ 200i and Spotlight 400 IR imaging systems to the portable, fast and easy-to-use Spectrum Two™ IR system, all our solutions are outfitted with ready-made protocols, materials library, and unique Spectrum Touch™ software. These are instruments of choice for researchers involved in the identification and quantification of synthetic polymer microbeads, as well as for analyzing other compounds in water – everything from visible plastic to below – 100 µm microplastics.
Another common approach is a hyphenated technique with thermal analysis or pyrolysis, combined with GC/MS (TGS-GC/MS) for high-sensitivity analysis of polymers and their organic additives (as well as characterization of particles below 100 µm). ICP-MS analysis is also used for identification and analysis of inorganic additives in the polymers and plastics.