Atmospheric aerosols are one of the least understood components of the climate system and incur adverse health effects on susceptible populations. Organic aerosols can make up as much as 80% of atmospheric aerosols (Lim and Turpin 2002), and so its quantification and characterization plays an important role in reducing our uncertainty with regards to aerosol impacts on health and climate. As the number of organic molecules in the atmosphere are diverse in number (Hamilton etal. 2004), we advance a functional group representation of organic molecules as measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to characterize the chemical composition of particle samples. This study describes and evaluates the algorithm introduced by Russell etal. (2009) for apportionment and quantification of oxygenated (carbonyl and hydroxyl) functional groups from infrared absorption spectra. Molar absorptivities for carbonyl and hydroxyl bonds in carboxylic groups are obtained for several dicarboxylic compounds, and applied to a multifunctional compound and mixture to demonstrate the applicability of this method for more complex samples. Furthermore, functional group abundances of two aldehydic compounds, 2-deoxy-d-ribose and glyceraldehyde, atomized from aqueous solution are in quantitative agreement with number of bonds predicted after transformation of these compounds into diols. The procedure for spectra interpretation and quantitative analysis is described through the context of an algorithm in which contributions of background and analyte absorption to the infrared spectrum are apportioned by the superposition of lineshapes constrained by laboratory measurements. Copyright 2013 American Association for Aerosol Research