A review, with 68 refs., is given on improvements in rapid-scanning Fourier-transform IR (FTIR) spectroscopy and Fourier-transform Raman spectroscopy applied to polymer chem. and phys. studies. Increased sensitivity; sampling techniques such as photoacoustic spectroscopy and diffuse reflectance measurements; and improved time resoln. for online combination with other techniques such as gas and liq. chromatog. or thermal anal. are discussed. Significant progress also was made in the characterization of time-dependent phenomena by the simultaneous acquisition of spectral and other relevant phys. data (e.g., during mech. measurements). Multivariate data evaluation applied to polymer anal. and the development of fiber optics for the near-IR wavelength range for process control and remote sensing are also discussed.