Chemistry is a field derived from and propelled by observation. Why is the sky blue? Why does water expand when it freezes? Why does gas evolve when baking soda and vinegar are mixed? For thousands of years, important chemical discoveries and theories have resulted from the curiosity of a scientist to explain an observation. However, there are many chemical phenomena that have profound effects on the world around us that we cannot directly observe with our five human senses. This is where chemical instrumentation comes in. How can we measure a quantum transition? How can we “visualize” molecular orbital hybridization?
The overall goal of this course it to both metaphorically and literally take the lid off of some methods of instrumental chemical analysis. We will cover both the fundamental theories behind instrument operation as well as practical aspects of instrumental methods. The course places a strong emphasis on instrument design and operation, as well as data acquisition, interpretation, and experimental simulation.