Lectures under Instrumental Analysis

Instrumental Analysis

CHM3130 - AKA: Chemistry Instrumentation, or, Instrumental

by: Dr. Stephen Lukacs (May 2012)

Instrumental is the coolest core-class required for majors in chemistry and biomedical sciences. It combines chemistry with CSI-type instrumentation to characterize chemical substances or select specific substances from mixtures. You're going to have a lot of fun in this course.

I have designed this class to include the nut-and-bolts of what is inside the black boxes. This way you will understand the nature and essence of the instruments you will be using in your future career. You will learn the basics of circuits and signal amplification, acquisition, and processing, computer programming, and how the data ties back to the chemical substances.

Syllabus and Student Success

Our course agreement and best practices for success in a data driven course.

(December 2019) As with all lectures, reading, problem solving, and podcasts, its all optional, but highly recommended.

Quantitative Analysis

The proper techniques for wet chemistry laboratories

(May 2012) The minimum necessary skills for weighing solids and liquid handling to properly make solutions and serial dilutions to create standard solutions for instrumental calibration.

Laboratory Essentials

Mainly Weighing and Volumetric Liquid Handling

(June 2016) The most basic techniques. Learn them well because you'll be doing them over and over, they are required for any lab work in the future, and I will be watching for proper method, fore thought, and grace. Time to make your own stock and known solutions in the laboratory.


Peptide and Protein Structure, Function, and Importance

(May 2012) Proteins form the fundamental structural and functional case work of living systems. Every living thing on the planet is built of proteins, i.e., from viruses and bacteria, all the way up to elephants, whales, and humans. Therefore, understanding proteins is key to understanding life on the molecular level.

Evaluation of Analytical Data

Analytical Processing of Data is Essential in all Aspects of Modern Living

(May 2012) Every laboratory collects numerical data. This lecture teaches you how to process that data properly and with a formalism necessary for proper interpretation of the data. Such processes, if properly applied, remove bias, prejudice, and opinion and force a staying the course with the truth and reality.

Electronics and Computers

An overview of electronics, circuits, test and measurement equipment, and computers.

(May 2012) Through the past century, we have been developing probes that convert any type of measurable into an electrical signal. That signal is then mangled and amplified by a circuit. Today, those amplified signals are digitized and processed by and stored in computers. Hence, the foundation of all modern instrumentation.

Analog Circuits and Op.Amps.

Lab 1: Amplification of Detector Signals in Chemical Instruments

(August 2016) Chemical signals from detectors, sensors, and probes are normally quite weak. This lab focuses on the most basic element of every instrument, the amplification of a signal from the detector, the sensor, or the probe.

AtoD Conversion

Lab 2: Analog to Digital Conversion

(August 2016) Analog-to-Digital (AtoD) conversion converts the amplified signals from our real analog world into the digital computer world. Once the computer has acquired the digitized data, it can be strip charted, processed, analyzed, and massaged in various forms using the tools in a computer.

"Real" Simple Instrument

Lab 3: Building a Simple but Real Instrument

(December 2019) You'll combine the tools of the first two labs, i.e., amplification of small signals from the real world then digitizing them into a computer, you'll build a simple but real life instrument.

NaOH, pH, and Titration of Phosphoric Acid

Lab 4: Standardization of Base and Multi-Protic Acid Titration

(May 2016) Properly and volumetrically performing acid/base titrations is a critical technique in instrumental and analytical processes. In this lab, you will first make your own NaOH solution, standardize it using conductivity, thus getting a molarity to 4 significant figures, then you'll use that standardized base solution to titrate a solution of phosphoric acid. In the end, you reproduce the pKa's of phosphoric acid's end points.


Lab 5: Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

(August 2012) A power tool of vibrational spectroscopy to identify functional groups, mainly in covalent bonded molecules and their respective function groups. A very close relative to FTIR is Raman Spectroscopy.


Lab 6: and Determination of Quinine in Tonic Water

(August 2016) Fluorescence is an extremely sensitive technique. Fluorescent compounds excite at very specific energies and after a brief pause emit at a lower energy of a very specific energy.


Lab 8: UV-Vis Determination of Aspirin, Tylenol, & Caffiene in Excedrin

(August 2016) After calibration of the instrument using known concentrations of pure analyts, All three components are determined with a single spectrum of Excedrin from 200 to 350nm.


Lab 9: Gas Chromatographic Determination of Aspirin, Tylenol, and Caffiene in Excedrin

(September 2012) Using a DVD player is great, but building your own, even if it is a rudimentary version, gives you whole new perspective into how it works and the level of engineering and software required to bring you that product.

A basic industrial GC costs around $25k, and a top-of-the-line GCMS costs overs $90k. In this lab, learn the techniques of development and engineering to build your own GC including the detector and computer acquisition.

Low Performance/Pressure Liquid Chromatography

Lab 11: Molar Mass Determination of Hemoglobin by Size Exclusion Chromatography

(August 2016) Using gel chromatography you'll calibrate your column of gel and the instrument with dextran and myoglobin and then use that to determine the molar mass of hemoglobin.

Conductivity of Solutions

Lab 12A: Conductivity: the Inverse of Resistivity

(May 2012) One of the most simple chemical instruments known; apply a voltage across a liquid solution and measure the induced current through the solution, called conductivity. The more ions, the greater their mobility, the greater the current and respective conductivity. The molecular model of the experiment is a bit more complicate then expected, especially at higher concentrations of ions. I wonder why?

Ion Selective Electrodes (ISE)

Lab 12B: ISE: Electroanalytic Probes

(June 2016) The pH probe is an ISE for the proton. ISEs exist for many other compounds to detect and calibrate against. We'll test the Sodium ion content of common forms of water.

Flame Atomic Absorption and Emission

Lab 12C: and the Determination of Sodium in various Samples

(August 2016) Flame AA is an extremely sensitive and expensive technique for the determination of various metals and ions in a sample.