• Report on How George Washington University is Teaching Undergraduate Students the Practical Applications of NMR

Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

Report on How George Washington University is Teaching Undergraduate Students the Practical Applications of NMR

Sep 30 2016

Magritek reports on how the Chemistry Department of George Washington University is using benchtop Spinsolve NMR spectrometers in their laboratory practical sessions.

Dr Michael King is Chair of the Department of Chemistry at George Washington University, a private, coeducational research university located in Washington DC. Among his activities, he teaches the organic chemistry laboratory which provides an introduction to and practice in basic skills of synthesis, separation, purification, and identification of organic compounds.

The Chemistry Department has two benchtop Spinsolve NMR spectrometers from Magritek for the physical/analytical chemistry and organic chemistry laboratories. In Dr King’s class, it is used for qualitative organic analysis. The experiments performed by his students utilise the basic 1D proton mode; loading samples, obtaining spectra and then use the MNova software to clean up and analyse the resultant data. Every year about 160 students at GWU take this class, with each practical lab session having around 14 students. In the lab class each student is provided with solid and liquid unknowns and they have to determine from spectroscopy (NMR, IR) the structure of both.

Commenting on why he likes the Spinsolve for teaching, Dr King said: “What I like about the Spinsolve and about the software is the high throughput. Obtaining the spectrum takes only a few minutes - less time than making the solution and putting it into the NMR tube. Place the sample tube in the instrument; then run a few scans, we typically do 16, and the students have a high quality spectrum. In terms of preparation we just run a short few minute shim at the start of lab session and its good for the rest of the day.”

Teaching NMR has changed radically in the last 15 years. In those times, providing students with simulations was regarded as cutting edge. With the advent of the modern benchtop technologies like the Spinsolve now available at GWU, Dr King said: “students are now doing real science. They have their own samples, individual samples, and they are running their own spectra, so it’s real world not virtual world.”


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