Hands-on experience for undergraduates
The chemistry department is housed in a recently completed integrated Science Center, representing a $36 million commitment to the education of women in the sciences. Modern teaching and research laboratories—and a large collection of state-of-the-art and portable instrumentation and molectular modeling facilities—provide the backdrop to an energetic and diverse department.
Fluorescence Spectroscopy is used to study molecular electronic and vibrational transitions in the physical chemistry laboratory.
Students use the High-performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to separate molecular products in their reactions in organic chemistry.
Atomic and molecular structure students use infra-red imaging to look under paintings and first-year seminar students use x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy to study the composition of pigments in vases. A video was produced describing the process.
Vacuum apparatus is used to isolate gases in physical chemistry laboratory. In the Chen lab, Akchheta and Lizzie are setting up a vacuum manifold to extract solvent from their reaction products.
In general, organic, and physical chemistry classes, students use the UV and visible light interaction ( UV/VIS) to find both quantitative information such as concentrations and more qualitative information such as whether or not the acid or base form of a molecule is increasing through a reaction. The UV-Vis is also used in the McMenimen Lab for general quantification of purified proteins. Additionally, this equipment is used to monitor the prevention of temperature-dependent protein aggregation, an important function of heat shock proteins. (Demonstrated by Hannah Arbach).
Akchheta is aligning the laser on the Atomic Force Microscope to study surface topographies of adsorbed poly(vinyl alcohol) films at the nanoscopic scale in the Chen lab. The Atomic Force Microscope is also used in an Atomic and Molecular Structure laboratory experiment characterizing quantum dots.
Lizzie is working on the Optical Microscope to image various "coffee-rings" on chemically modified silicon wafer substrates. The optical microscope is also used in an Atomic and Molecular Structure laboratory experiment characterizing quantum dots.
In organic chemistry, students get hands on experience with the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to help find out the structure of molecules. The NMR is used to identify and characterize small peptides generated in the McMenimen Lab. (demonstrated by Ellie De Leon).