ATR spectroscopy (attenuated total reflection)

ATR measurement technology for the analysis of process liquids - suitable for industrial use

Monitoring process liquids imposes the highest demands on optical process sensors: they have to be highly sensitive and very robust at the same time. For more than 20 years, Fraunhofer IPM has been developing sensors and measuring systems for process applications based on attenuated total reflection (ATR) spectroscopy in the mid-infrared range. They allow process control by providing on-line or at-line analysis data on the chemical composition of liquid media.

is an established optical method that permits the analysis of highly absorbent liquids. This spectroscopic technique allows to determine  the composition of beverages such as beer, juices or soft drinks – however, only in the laboratory. For industrial applications, there is a problem: so far, the measurement technology is not robust enough for continuous use. Especially in the important »fingerprint range« of the infrared spectrum, there are only a few sensor solutions suitable for the industry.

Fraunhofer IPM develops adapted ATR sensor solutions for the application in industrial processes, drawing on our expertise in the fields of optical and opto-mechanical design and with assembly and connection techniques for robust sensors. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of materials, we are able to modify ATR elements for specific applications. Among other things, we use chemometric methods for data evaluation, which are constantly being refined.

In recent years, Fraunhofer IPM has developed ATR sensors for the beverage industry (e.g. as CO2 sensors) and for the determination of isocyanate concentrations in the chemical industry.

Principle of ATR spectroscopy

Light is guided by total reflection in an optical waveguide. An evanescent field is formed behind the reflecting interface with a penetration depth in the order of magnitude of the irradiated wavelength. The sample to be examined (e.g. liquid) in the area of the interface interacts with this field, whereby the light guided in the waveguide is attenuated.

Also learn more about our competence in the field of chemometrics.

Applications »ATR spectroscopy«

ATR spectroscopy for process technology


Production control in the beverage industry

Publications »ATR spectroscopy«

Publication Type
2023 Compact silicon-based attenuated total reflection (ATR) sensor module for liquid analysis
Lambrecht, Armin; Bolwien, Carsten; Fuhr, Hendrik; Sulz, Gerd; Isserstedt-Trinke, Annett; Magi, André; Biermann, Steffen; Wöllenstein, Jürgen
Journal Article
2022 Kompaktes ATR-Sensormodul für die Flüssigkeitsanalyse
Isserstedt-Trinke, Annett; Lambrecht, Armin; Bolwien, Carsten; Fuhr, Hendrik; Sulz, Gerd; Magi, Andre; Biermann, Steffen; Wöllenstein, Jürgen
Conference Paper
2021 Diamond-Coated Silicon ATR Elements for Process Analytics
Arndt, Nicolai; Bolwien, Carsten; Sulz, Gerd; Kühnemann, Frank; Lambrecht, Armin
Journal Article
2020 Cylindrical IR-ATR Sensors for Process Analytics
Lambrecht, Armin; Bolwien, Carsten; Erb, Jochen; Fuhr, Hendrik; Sulz, Gerd
Journal Article
2020 Mikrostrukturierter Diamant für optische Systeme - skalierbare Basistechnologie und Einsatz in der ATR-Infrarotspektroskopie (MiDioS). Abschlussbericht
Sulz, Gerd; Lambrecht, Armin; Bolwien, Carsten
2020 Zylinderförmige IR-ATR-Sensorsysteme für die inline-Prozessanalyse in der chemischen Industrie (ZYRAT). Abschlussbericht
Sulz, Gerd; Lambrecht, Armin; Bolwien, Carsten
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This list has been generated from the publication platform Fraunhofer-Publica