An integrated laboratory course designed to illustrate the principles of modern analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Students will carry out experiments covering around six eight-hour periods. These experiments will be chosen from a selection covering all four branches of the field: no more than three periods can be carried out in a particular branch.
The analytical section covers the principles behind several analytical techniques, and the interferences and problems inherent in the techniques. Experiments investigate the effects of various instrumental parameters on experimental results. Techniques covered include polarographic methods, atomic absorption and emission, ion chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry.
The inorganic section consists of five experiments that demonstrate modern techniques of preparative and diagnostic inorganic chemistry. Several inorganic and organometallic compounds are synthesized and their reactions and properties investigated. The products are characterized using UV/Vis, IR, NMR, ESR spectroscopy and magnetic susceptibility measurements. Inert atmosphere and vacuum-line techniques are used for many of these syntheses.
Topics and techniques covered in the organic portion include syringe and inert-atmosphere techniques for the handling of air-sensitive reagents; atmospheric and low-pressure catalytic hydrogenation; use of mechanical vacuum pumps for vacuum distillation; flash column chromatograph; strategies of linear and convergent synthesis. Reactions performed can include aromatic nitration, stereoselective hydride reduction, borane-DMS reduction, organocuprate substitution reaction, Grignard reactions, Friedel-Crafts alkylations and acylations, and many more. Analytical and spectroscopic methods routinely employed include FT-IR, NMR (proton and C13), mass spectroscopy, GC and TLC.
Current experiments in the physical chemistry section include: the investigation of molecular structure through measurement of dipole moments; the measurement and analysis of the high-resolution infrared spectra, to investigate molecular symmetry and structure; a study of fast-reaction kinetics by a temperature-jump technique.