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Ohio Northern Chemistry and Biochemistry Department to conduct open house to introduce new equipment

Oct 29, 2013

Ohio Northern University Chemistry and Biochemistry Department will introduce its new acquisition of a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR) and commemorate 40 years of NMR spectroscopy at ONU with an open house event in the Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences Room 248 on Friday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.

Dr. Brian Myers, associate professor of chemistry, said the new NMR is an impressive piece of engineering that will dramatically improve the faculty’s ability to more readily carry out cutting edge laboratory research with students as well as improve access for instruction in several of our laboratory courses.

Myers continued “Chemistry students and faculty at ONU can use the instrument on a daily basis to determine the composition and purity of materials that they prepare or use in their laboratories. “For example, a user of the instrument could easily distinguish whether a 10 mg sample of white power is cocaine, Tylenol, or sugar in under a minute. However, chemists at ONU are more interested in determining the composition of materials that they are preparing themselves, whether this is to analyze a compound that has never been made before or to check the results of an experiment completed for a laboratory course.”

The development of NMR started with a group of physicists during the 1940’s who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1952. The first NMR instrument installed in Ohio was at the Standard Oil Company, Cleveland in October 1959. ONU acquired its first instrument (a Varian EM 360 for about $13,400) in 1973. That 60 MHz NMR was replaced with support from the National Science Foundation in 1989 with a 200 MHz FT-NMR, which was significantly upgraded in 2004 with new electronics. It is estimated that over 800 students have been trained at ONU to independently use an NMR spectrometer and thousands of other ONU students have been exposed to the data produced by the NMR instruments as they’ve learned to interpret the data and gained a deeper understanding of chemical structures.

Myers said that the tangible benefits of the new instrument over the previous 200 MHz spectrometer includes the ability to observe many more types of nuclei, ease of use for students, easier and cheaper maintenance, and shorter analysis times due to the increased magnetic field. The intangible benefit of the new system is that students at ONU now have direct access to state-of-the-art technology that will enhance their understanding of molecular composition.