Disclaimer: I am new learner to spectroscopy.

I had posted a question recently related to infrared spectroscopy.

What do s, m, w, m-w, and w-s mean in the context of infrared spectroscopy?

A bit later after I posted it, Mithoron came by, and edited the post, removing the and adding instead. I am perplexed at this edit, since this edit doesn't appear to improve my question (imo). Moreover, considering the tag info for :

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy is a technique which is used to obtain an infrared spectrum of a solid, liquid or gas.

My question is not related to the Fourier transform technique. It's simply about certain abbreviations used in infrared spectroscopy.

As for why the tag was removed, checking it's tag info, I got:

Use this tag for questions about spectroscopic methods in practice and in theory, especially where tags for the individual method (such as or ) are not available.

While the tag exists, it isn't related to my question, but is certainly is. I am now doubtful about why the edit was made.

So, naturally, I dropped a comment asking Mithoron why he made the edit:

@Mithoron how is an appropriate tag for this? My question has nothing to do with Fourier transform spectroscopic technique, it's just regular infrared. – Pritt Balagopal

He replied,

This is the tag for IR spectroscopy, ft is standard procedure. – Mithoron

His comment has gotten 3 upvotes currently, so a few people agree with him. May I receive a satisfactory reason as to why that tag is appropriate for my question.

Follow-up question: Why isn't a tag called "ir-spectroscopy" made? I have seen an "nmr" tag, so why not for infrared?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Most IR spectrometers (and most NMR spectrometers) doesn't do frequency scans. They blast with a square wave and Fourier transform the result to convert to your traditional spectrum. The "ft" stands for Fourier transform. $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Jun 28, 2017 at 17:25
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think that given the tags we have, it is quite logical that the question be tagged with ft-ir. The point that has been mentioned several times is that your "normal IR" is done with FT methods. So it really doesn't matter that you aren't asking specifically about the FT aspects - the rationale for applying the tag is very straightforward: "This is the tag for IR spectroscopy, ft is standard procedure". However I do find it a little odd that we use ft-ir and not something generic like infrared-spectroscopy. Char limit for tags is 25, and that is only 20 chars long. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2017 at 18:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ... FT methods are also widely used in NMR and we don't call the tag ft-nmr. If someone posted a meta post asking to rename [nmr] to [ft-nmr], I wouldn't be surprised if someone else chimed in and said that we shouldn't do so "because CW NMR". $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2017 at 18:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @orthocresol I always assumed that 'ir' itself was too short so something else has to be appended, where as 'nmr' was just about long enough not to need 'ft-nmr'. $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Jun 28, 2017 at 18:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NotEvans. interesting idea and as a scientist I carried out an experiment to investigate the hypothesis, but it turns out that the system is perfectly fine with "ir" itself. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2017 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, perhaps 'ft-ir' can sensibly be... migrated (I don't think thats actually the word I'm looking for) into 'ir' in that case. (Also, bad scienceing, you need to do it in duplicate to make sure it wasn't a one-off and chem.SE will throw a fit the next time you try :P ) $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Jun 28, 2017 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol In a cruel twist, the most common epr experiment is a swept field one due to only relatively recent developments in microwave technology. So no one does CW-NMR, but almost everyone does CW-EPR. $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2017 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol Just in case a tag "ir" is too small, we can have a "ir-spectroscopy" instead. $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2017 at 3:35

2 Answers 2



Nobody provided any rationale for why we shouldn't rename the tag, so:

  • I have merged into . It now has 40 questions - go on, click it, you know you want to!

  • I have also made and synonyms of the new tag, so that people will see the new tag if they type either "ft" (i.e. old-timers who aren't aware of this change) or "infrared" (i.e. new people asking questions about IR).

For more information about merging tags and tag synonyms, you can check out the Meta Stack Exchange FAQ on this topic.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was about to do that right now ;) $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2017 at 10:40

Indeed, has been applied to questions that are about infrared spectroscopy. That still is - in my opinion - no reason to remove the . In general we don't remove broad tags just because there are more specialised versions; that may be a discussion for another time.

I suggest to rename the tag.

First I thought , analogous to the current , would be sufficient. However, it might be beneficial to think about adding -spectroscopy to all related tags, so that they actually show up when you start typing the word. We do already have (I know not quite the same, still shows up when you type spec), and I think all are well below the 25 character limit.

I personally like ,* but I could also see , which has the advantage of showing up when typing ir.

*We then should probably keep or around as a synonym.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 as I also personally like infrared-spectroscopy. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2017 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ I figure we should keep both [ir] and [ft-ir] as synonyms. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Jul 1, 2017 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py that would be redundant. If we have ft-ir as a tag, then the new tag will show up if you type it, too. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2017 at 6:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'd favour [ir-spectroscopy], the abbreviation is common enough not to be confusing, but more so since for the sakes of consistency, if it was [infrared-spectroscopy] then the nmr tag would also end up as [nuclear-magnetic-resonance-spectroscopy] which seems overkill. $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Jul 1, 2017 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! As for my personal opinion, [ir-spectroscopy] seems good. Will we be renaming ft ir, or create a new tag altogether? $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2017 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'd be entirely OK with ir-spectroscopy too. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2017 at 20:43

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