No Black Boxes Here!
Students in Instrumental Techniques not only use a wide variety of chemical instrumentation, but they also take a closer look at how the instruments function and what can be done to enhance data quality.
Jordan Sumliner and Juan De Jesus use an atomic emission spectrometer made of common lab glassware, a Bunsen burner, fiber optic cable, and a light detector to measure the concentration of sodium and potassium in Gatorade.
The Gatorade is nebulized in the glass flask and is directed into the air intake for the Bunsen burner. The fiber optic cable pointed at the flame transmits the light emitted by sodium and potassium atoms to a detector. (The bright orange in the flame is due to the light emitted by the sodium!)
Students examine the components of a mass spectrometer.
Darryl Steffan inserts an unknown sample into the mass spectrometer, where it is ionized and broken into fragments. The fragmentation pattern allows us to identify the compound
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