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Infrared spectroscopy is a useful technique for the determination of conformation and orientation of membrane-associated proteins and lipids. The technique is especially powerful for detecting conformational changes by recording spectral differences before and after perturbations in physiological solution. Polarized infrared measurements on oriented membrane samples have revealed valuable information on the orientation of chemical groupings and substructures within membrane molecules which is difficult to obtain by other methods. The application of infrared spectroscopy to the static and dynamic structure of proteins and peptides in lipid bilayers is reviewed with some emphasis on the importance of sample preparation. Limitations of the technique with regard to the absolute determination of secondary structure and orientation and new strategies for structural assignments are also discussed.