Facilities & Instrumentation
John S. Toll Science Center
The chemistry department is located on the second floor of the John S. Toll Science Center. Students enrolled in chemistry courses and performing research either during our summer research program or as seniors majoring in a scientific discipline have access to our state-of-the-art laboratories and instrumentation.There are four teaching laboratories as well as two preparatory rooms and two instrumentation rooms. The main aspects of sample characterization are covered, ranging from:
- molecular spectroscopy including our Hach ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometers to infrared spectroscopy with our Thermo Nicolet AVATAR 360 FT-IR spectrophotometer
- absorption spectroscopy with our Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 100 atomic absorption spectrophotometer
- separation techniques based on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry including our Hewlett Packard gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometers and high performance liquid chromatograph to
- nuclear spectroscopy with our new Bruker 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.
To make our laboratory sessions more effective and engaging, students familiarize themselves with Vernier and PC-Spartan software which allow students to measure and analyze their data in real-time with a computer, as stand-alone or in the field, and also with ChemOffice software which allows students to design their own molecules.
The Thermo-Nicolet AVATAR 360 FT-IR Spectrometer is used to identify the structures of chemical compounds by examining at what wavelength of infrared radiation (heat) they absorb.
The GC-MS is an extremely useful instrument in determining the identity of a chemical substance. The GC-MS works just like the GC (see GC), but the compounds are detected in a different manner. In this instrument compounds are separated in the GC and then pass into the mass spectrometer, where their molecular mass is determined.
The Bruker 400 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (NMR is the big cousin of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. The NMR spectrometer can detect a variety of elements, and is used to determine the chemical structure of molecules.
The Perkin-Elmer AAnalyst 100 Atomic Absorbance Spectrometer (AA) is used to analyze the concentration of metal ions, making this instrument well-suited for use in environmental monitoring of heavy metals. Our instrument is set up to look for lead (Pb), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), cadmium (Cd), and copper (Cu).
Gas Chromatography is a convenient method to determine the identify of chemical compounds in a mixture. The GC works by vaporizing compounds into the gas phase and passing these vapors through a column where separation can occur.