This course builds from the understanding of light-matter interactions and molecular structure obtained in foundational courses to teach the identification of compounds using information from a combination of mass (MS), infrared (IR), Raman, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and ultraviolet-visible (UV) spectra.
This is the first course in the programme where mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy are discussed in detail. The discussion on mass spectrometry will include a discussion on ionization methods, mass analysers, fragmentation, and mass spectra of some common chemical classes. The discussion on NMR spectroscopy will include a theoretical understanding of magnetic properties of nuclei, relaxation, chemical shifts, spin coupling and the nuclear overhauser effect as well identification of chemical compound using both proton and C‑13 NMR spectroscopy. Some basics of correlation NMR spectroscopy (2D-NMR) will also be discussed. The other spectroscopic techniques (IR, UV visible and Raman) that have already been covered in the foundational courses will now be reviewed
and extrapolated to the identification of functional groups and moieties in molecules.
A balance between theory and practice is maintained in this course and, as a result, the emphasis is on identification of chemicals rather than a quantum-mechanics based approach to the techniques. However, the techniques are not treated as a “black box”. A non-mathematical, qualitative, problem solving approach is used in the theory component with a laboratory component that involves data collection, analysis and interpretation. Students are introduced to instrumentation and sample preparation methods too. The final project in the laboratory component involves a multi-week laboratory exercise involving the isolation, purification and spectrometric identification of a complex chemical compound .