EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Quantification of OH in quartz via infrared spectroscopy – new protocol for sample preparation and spectral analysis

Dominik Jaeger and Roland Stalder
Dominik Jaeger and Roland Stalder
  • University of Innsbruck, Austria (

Hydrous lattice point defects (OH defects) in quartz (SiO2) occur through coupled substitution of Si4+ with a trivalent cation (most commonly Al3+) and a hydroxyl group (OH-). These impurities can be used to investigate its host rock’s crystallization history and may therefore also serve as a tracer for sediment provenance analyses, but are also economically relevant (e.g., high purity quartz sources).

Transmission infrared (IR) spectroscopy has proven to be a very effective method to analyze OH defects down to concentrations of a few weight parts per million water equivalent. This technique, however, requires thin (100 to 200 µm), polished quartz wafers that are cut perpendicular to the crystallographic c-axis. Preparation of a statistically significant number (i.e. > 100) of grains using this approach is very time consuming and requires a skilled operator. Furthermore, IR spectral analysis so far does not follow a standardized protocol, possibly introducing individual biases and hampering reproducibility of as well as comparability between datasets.

In this work, we present a new, standardized procedure for sample preparation, measurement, and data analysis of OH defects in quartz. Sample preparation and IR measurements are significantly sped up and simplified and require relatively little specialized laboratory equipment. Additionally, our data analysis is performed largely automated and based on spectral deconvolution and generation of synthetic spectra before quantification, ensuring quick generation of reproducible results. This new protocol may therefore be another step towards making OH defect analysis accessible to a wider range of geoscientific fields.

How to cite: Jaeger, D. and Stalder, R.: Quantification of OH in quartz via infrared spectroscopy – new protocol for sample preparation and spectral analysis, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4954,, 2022.