Instrumental Analysis Wiki

Moderator: Kevin Owens

The purpose of this wiki is to serve as a resource for instructors teaching an Instrumental Analysis course- as well as for students taking such a course. Most chemistry departments offer a separate instrumental course- if so it is generally taken by students in their junior or senior years. Some departments have instituted "integrated laboratories" where the instrumental techniques are investigated in synch with either organic or inorganic synthetic methodologies. In either case, the experiments that are performed are usually dictated by the instrumentation available in the department. While there are many instrumental analysis textbooks, there are far fewer laboratory oriented textbooks. In many cases the laboratory experiments that are performed are fully "home-grown"- in other cases they are liberal adaptations of textbook experiments. We are all searching for better ways of teaching.

For a number of years we have used the laboratory text entitled "Chemistry Experiments for Instrumental Methods" written by Donald T. Sawyer, William R. Heineman, Janice M. Beebe (published by John Wiley & Sons, copyright 1984, ISBN-10: 0-471-89303-X). The book went out of print for about a year a couple of years ago- while the descriptions of the instruments are horribly out of date the experiments are generally good. If you are like me you are likely always looking for a "better" experiment- one that can be adapted easily to the instrumentation you have on hand and will illustrate an important analytical process or technique. Searching around the web using Google can bring to light some really interesting experiments. In some cases I've found some very good experiments that have almost no documentation (some authors don't even include any contact information).

The most direct goal of this wiki is to provide an "open source" of experiments for instructors to use to improve their courses. If you are an author or publisher and believe that some material that is provided here violates your existing copyright please notify me immediately. In many cases the "theft" is inadvertent; many instructors perform what are considered "classic" experiments- the actual "source" of the experiment is often not known. Appropriate references will be provided to the original material (if still available) and the offending material removed. If the modifications truely make it a unique experiment References to the original literature (for example to the Journal of Chemical Education)

In addition to serving as a source of experimental procedures a further goal of this wiki would be to serve as a "sounding board" for the "best practices" in analytical instruction. Time in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum is limited- what techniques should we be teaching- and how should we teach them? How can we best get basic analytical principles across? Should there be such a division between the traditional "Quantitative Analysis" course (generally focussed on wet-chemical techiques- i.e., gravimetry and titrimetry) and Instrumental Analysis? What do you think?

You may participate in this project through discussion on the comments pages- or, if you desire, by becoming a regular contributor.

Text/Lab Book Information

Instrumental Analysis Textbooks Information about instrumental analysis textbooks (some of which contain experiments).
Instrumental Analysis Laboratory Books Information about laboratory-based texts.

Analytical Chemistry Software Information

Analytical Chemistry Software Info Are there alternatives for using the MS Office suite?

Analytical Chemistry Suggestions for how to use the journal Analytical Chemistry in the instrumental analysis course. NOTE: link doesn't work 7/26/11.

Web-Links Analytical Sciences Digital Library John P. Walters' (professor emeritus at St. Olaf's College in Northfield, MN) website Tom O'Haver's ((professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD) website


The goal is to expand each of the headings below into an individual page- if several experiments are available each page can have several subpages.

Lab Practical

Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AA)

Basic Electronics

Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy

Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Gas Chromatography (GC)

Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)

Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES)

Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy

Mass Spectrometry

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy


UV/Visible Spectroscopy

Sample Preparation Methodology

Liquid/Liquid Extraction

Solid Phase Extraction (SPE)

Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME)