An apparatus for the study of solution phase kinetics using FT-IR spectroscopy has been developed. The observation chamber consists of an integrated tangential mixer-flow cell and a ZnSe element permitting attenuated total reflectance (ATR) measurements. The short optical pathlength afforded by ATR allows mid-IR observation of chemical reactions in aqueous solution, including the spectral region near the water bending vibration (1640 cm<sup>-1</sup>). High hydraulic backpressures required to force solution rapidly through a thin layer flow cell are not necessary with the ATR flow cell because the optical pathlength and the flow cross-section have been decoupled, allowing for a relativity large flow chamber when compared with instruments incorporating a transmission flow cell. Overall system performance has been evaluated using the hydrolysis of methylchloroacetate as a test reaction. The feasibility of observing reactions with initial half-lives of approximately 250 ms is demonstrated. The system is very robust, with little risk of damaging the optics during routine maintenance.
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