Kidney stone analysis by FTIR-ATR

A kidney stone’s composition, revealed by FTIR-ATR, can give decisive clues to help patients prevent the formation of new kidney stones in the future. With the ALPHA II kidney stone analyzer, researchers and healthcare professionals have a tool for quick and reliable composition analysis.

But what exactly are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are mineral deposits precipitating from urine. The majority is formed because of wrong dietary habits such as insufficient fluid intake and/or the consumption of certain foods. This can cause an enrichment of substances such as calcium, oxalate, and cystine in the urine, leading to a supersaturation and subsequent nucleation and aggregation of the stones.

Kidney stone prevention by FTIR-ATR involves the determination of their composition.
Different forms and sizes of kidney stones.

Why should they be analyzed?

Depending on their position and size, kidney stones can cause terrible pain. The treatment of choice often involves removing the stones through shock-wave therapy or surgery. In recent years, unfortunately, the incidence of these treatments has strongly increased, putting a significant burden on public health systems worldwide.

Because a better understanding of what is causing the formation of kidney stones is important. Analyzing their composition is one approach to gain insights into causes, treatments, and disease progression. And this is where FTIR spectroscopy comes into play.

Analysis of kidney stones with FTIR

For many years, kidney stones were analyzed using wet chemical methods, which brings a major disadvantage to the table. Only the presence of individual ions and radicals can be determined. To get the specific stone composition other methods such as FTIR-ATR spectroscopy are necessary.

ALPHA II kidney stone analysis.

With FTIR, even minerals with only small chemical differences such as whewellite (CaC2O4*H2O) and weddellite (CaC2O4*2H2O) can be differentiated. Besides the accuracy, IR spectroscopy is a fast and easy to handle method. And with Bruker, this method becomes even better and more efficient.

The ALPHA II kidney stone analyzer

The ALPHA II kidney stone analyzer is a system for the quick and reliable identification of the main chemical components in kidney stones by IR spectroscopy. Simple sampling and the intuitive design of the software user interface allows operation by personnel without IR spectroscopic knowledge. Guided by the software the user places a few small pieces of the kidney stone on the diamond measurement interface and starts the IR measurement.

 Kidney stone prevention by FTIR-ATR. Results of kidney stone analysis.
Analysis of a kidney stone consisting of various components.

The identification of the components in the kidney stone sample is performed by an automated search of the resulting spectrum in a dedicated spectral library containing > 5,000 spectra of authentic kidney stones. A report of the identification result finalizes the analysis. The total analysis time including sampling, measurement, identification, and report generation is about 1 minute.


The ALPHA II kidney stone analyzer enables its user to quickly and reliable determine kidney stone composition. It helps to shed light on the causes for stone formation and aids both healthcare professionals and researchers in their quest for kidney stone prevention.

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