After all the time I’ve spent studying in classes over the year, I now get to apply this knowledge.
In two semesters of organic chemistry, I learn about the many methods to identify small molecules, particularly those drawn using a Sharpie pen on scrap paper. There, I learn about the fine details of counting hydrogens and determining if they are equivalent and the couple patterns in NMR spectra(0-chem jargon, not important).
One of my favorite aspects of this internship is the translation of classroom knowledge. Last week, I got to spend time running and analyzing a REAL NMR spectra from a small molecule that I made! I was thrilled (although, in practice, it was a very dull and time consuming process).
Illustrated is a NMR 400 varian. This is the machine we use to take NMR spectra. From there, we go to a computer an analyze each peak and integration, all the while trying to predict the structure of our newly formed mystery compound.
“There are millions of different compounds and therefore millions of different spectra, our job is to pick the right one out of the group” says my mentor, Dr. Allen Brooks, while he effortlessly picks peaks and integrates them, fully aware of the structure before I can even process his infinite many clicks.
Today, I get to analyze my own spectra and, although there are millions upon millions of combinations, I cannot wait to start shifting through them.