Chemical Instrumentation

The Departments of Chemistry and Environmental Science maintain a full compliment of modern chemical instrumentation. Our undergraduate students gain hands-on experience with some of these instruments in laboratory courses including the nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, infrared spectrometer, spectrophotometer, HPLC, PCR, etc. Senior students working on senior research projects may have the opportunity to use other instruments otherwise not introduced in teaching labs. Faculty also use the instrumentation to support their research.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (NMR)

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometers are used for structural determination.

The newest addition to our instruments is a Bruker Ascend Aeon 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer.  It has a multinuclear probe with automatic tuning.  It is also equipped with an automatic 24 position sample changer.  It has variable temperature capabilities for dynamic NMR experiments.  The magnet has gradient shimming that gives extraordinary line shapes on every spectrum.  All 1-D and 2-D experiments can be fully automated.  The instrument can also be controlled from any office computer.

Our older NMR is an Anasazi Eft-60 FT NMR. This instrument provides a way to introduce modern FT-NMR spectrometry. The Acorn software called “Nuts” permits advanced NMR data processing. The instrument provides excellent low-field proton spectra of organic compounds. Relaxation time measurements and two-dimensional COSY (COrrelated SpectroscopY) experiments can also be performed.

Mass Spectrometry

Agilent 7500a Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) & Class 100 Clean Room

The ICP-MS is used for trace analysis of heavy metals in environmental samples, elemental analysis of trace evidence. It has the following features:

  • Peltier-cooled spray chamber for optimum stability and lowest oxide interference
  • ShieldTorch System (STS) for highest sensitivity
  • Agilent Active Mass Flow Controllers (AMFC) for accurate precise control of all plasma and collision/reaction cell gases
  • True hyperbolic profile quadrupole rods for excellent ion transmission and superior abundance sensitivity

Agilent 6890N Series/5973 Series GC/MS with Varian Archon Purge and Trap Autosampler & Teledyne Tekmar Velocity XPT Purge and Trap Sample Concentrator

This GC/MS is used for trace analysis of volatile and semi-volatile analytes, forensic toxicology, arson investigation, analysis of pesticides and persistent organic pollutants.

The features include:

  • Fast scan speed and response
  • Reproducible quantitation in complex matrices such as wastewater, food, and physiological fluids
  • Programmable temperature vaporization (PTV) inlet allows large-volume injection

The Tekmar 3000 Purge & Trap Concentrator purges volatiles from water or soil onto a sorbent trap. This trap is then rapidly heated and the analytes swept with GC carrier gas onto the GC column for separation and detection. The 3000 Series performs environmental analyses with strict adherence to US EPA protocols.

Gas Chromatography Flame Ionization Detector

Agilent 6890 Series GC/FID

The GC/FID is used for trace analysis of volatile and semi-volatile analytes, forensic toxicology, arson investigation, analysis of pesticides and persistent organic pollutants.

The Agilent 6890 GC features electronic pneumatic control of all gas pressures and flows.


  • Single Split/Splitless Injector
  • Single Flame Ionization Detector
  • Electronic Pressure Control on Detector and Injector
  • Ambient temperature +4 °C to 450 °C
  • Temperature set point resolution: 1 °C


Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry

The GC/MS is used for analysis of volatile and semi-volatile analytes, characterization of organic molecules.

Hewlett-Packard 5890 Series II/5971 Series GC/MS 

The HP 5971 Mass Spectrometer (MS) has a mass range of 10-650am. Mass Selective Detector (MSD) electronics provide real-time control according to setpoints and instructions from the data system which sends operating parameters to the MSD. Status information and data originates from the MSD before transferring to the system.

High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC)

HPLC is used for trace analysis of non-volatile analytes, drug & steroid metabolites, purification of complex mixtures, cyanotoxins in natural waters.

Agilent 1100 series HPLC system

The department has 4 of these instruments that are efficient at mixing and has advanced diagnostics with data analysis software. Features:

  • binary and quadrary pump
  • high speed proportioning valve
  • vacuum degasser

Waters Model 2695 Liquid Chromatograph equipped with Waters 2996 Photodiode Array and Waters 2475 Multi- λ fluorescence detectors

The HPLC system has a quaternary, low-pressure mixing pump with flow rates from 50 µL/min to 5 mL/min and is equipped with an autosampler with 120 vial capacity. Other features:

  • Photodiode Array- advanced chromatographic and spectral sensitivity
  • Multi Fluorescence detector- tunable fluoresence detector

Infrared Spectroscopy

Infrared spectrometers are used to decipher functional groups of organic and inorganic compounds. They also have practical applications in identification of fibers, pigments, etc. Our department has 3 infrared spectrometers.

Agilent Technologies Cary 630 FTIR

Our newest IR is compact, weighing only 8 lbs and is 6 inches tall. It is extremely user-friendly and has snap and go modules making sample analysis easy. There is no need for making pellets or dealing with salt plates.

Perkin Elmer Spectrum 100 spectrometer (FT-IR) with Spectrum 100 Universal Diamond/ZnSe ATR

Perkin Elmer Spectrum RX  FTIR spectrometer

Graphite Furnace/Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (GF/FAAS)

Atomic Absorption Spectrometers are used to identify major Ion and heavy metal quantification in aqueous samples

Perkin-Elmer Analyst 300 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. The optical system has a double-beam photometer, Littrow design monochromator, a wide range photomultiplier and can be used with several light sources. The gas control and burner system features automatically incrementally adjusted acetylene flow and flame safety functions.

Microwave Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES)

The MP-AES is used for multi-analyte determination of major and minor elements.

Agilent’s Microwave Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES) has high sensitivity, detection limits down to sub ppb levels and is faster than the conventional flame Atomic Absorption (AA). The core MP-AES instrument “runs on air,” instead of combustible gases.

UV-Visible Spectrophotometer

UV-Visible Spectrophotometers can be used to quantify and characterize organic and inorganic chromophores, trace environmental analysis, DNA, RNA, and protein content of samples.

Agilent Technologies Cary 8454 UV/Vis spectrophotometer

The newest UV/Vis addition to our instruments gives results in less than 1 second,  is reproducible and easy to use.

Perkin Elmer Lamba 35 double beam UV/Vis spectrophotometer

Polymerase Chain Reaction Thermocycler

Applied Biosystems StepOne Plus qPCR

Amplification and quantification of DNA and RNA, quantification of environmental pathogens, rapid detection of DNA

Applied Biosystems Thermocycler

Amplification of DNA and RNA for separation by gel electrophoresis.

Streck Philisa Rapid Thermal Cycler

The Philisa Thermal Cycler is an innovative high speed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instrument with the potential to improve laboratory efficiency and flexibility.  Reliable PCR can be done in under 15 minutes versus multiple hours with a traditional thermal cycler. The rapid thermocycling also minimizes thermal damage to DNA by limiting exposure to high temperatures.


Separation and determination of anions in aqueous samples

Dionex DX500 Ion Chromatograph with PC interface and computer driven software and auto sampler

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer
  • Atomic Absorption Analyzer
  • PCR station
  • GC mass spectrometer
  • hplc
  • ion exchange column
  • gcms
  • GC mass spectrometer
  • icpms