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Infrared Spectrometer with ATR module: Core instrument for Molecules and Materials Characterization

Department of Chemistry








We are requesting funds to purchase a Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FT-IR) and an Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR) module for use by students across a variety of UW departments. This spectrometer will be part of the instrumentation facilities in the Department of Chemistry. The new FT-IR will replace a machine which has been in use for nearly 20-years. The chemistry instrumentation facility is used on a daily basis by students in the Department of Chemistry and in other departments across campus and has an excellent support staff. The new FT-IR will allow measurements over a broader range of wavelengths while providing increased sensitivity, greater reliability, and improved ease of operation relative to the antiquated instrument it will replace. This IR instrument will be an essential tool for undergraduate lab courses and for and student researchers in chemistry, materials science and chemical engineering. The Department of Chemistry is committed to provide modern and relevant instrumentation to students, who will then be able to leverage those skills in their own careers. Understanding how to make and break chemical bonds is the very essence of chemistry. One fundamental principle in probing chemical bonds is measuring their strength. To measure bond strength, chemists rely on vibrational spectroscopy, in particular they rely on infrared spectroscopy. This technique contributes knowledge towards nearly every aspect of how molecules form and what geometries they adopt. By providing the means to determine vibrational bond energy and molecular geometry, an FT-IR spectrometer is directly useful in chemical identification. The FT-IR is considered a “core instrument” and working knowledge of it is often required for not only basic research but also many industry jobs. The ATR module will provide a fast, reliable and robust method for sample analysis that avoids cumbersome sample preparation. This instrument will be housed in the Department of Chemistry instrumentation center, readily accessible to students. The sensitivity, broad spectral range, and ease of use will provide students in fields such as chemistry, geology, materials science, and biology with access to the full capabilities of a modern FT-IR instrument.

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