Back in March 2011, I was in NYC for the 2011 Edison Awards. The morning after the award ceremony, I was scheduled to announce the winner a of 3-month long campaign giveaway for a Thermo Scientific picoSpin 45 NMR spectrometer. Using a random number generator, I selected the single winner out of hundreds of contest registrations. The winner was Armstrong Atlantic State University (Savannah, GA).
An early adopter is defined as a person who uses a new technology or product before it becomes widely known or used. Today’s blog post will be highlighting one of the very early adopters of benchtop NMR, Dr. Sarah Dimick Gray with Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN.
The purpose of this experiment is to gain an understanding of the utility of NMR in structure characterization by assigning the spectra of regioisomers of butanol (C4H9OH). Solutions of the isomers of butanol, 1-butanol, 2-butanol, isobutanol and tert-butanol will be prepared in protonated solvents chloroform (CHCl3) and acetone.
Pursuant in understanding how benchtop NMR is being used in chemical education, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing one of our customers, Dr. Mike Haaf, Ithaca College. As our blog readers will appreciate, the benchtop NMR story is still being written, and it’s the collection of stories like the one below from Dr. Haaf that provide valuable insight and perspective on how benchtop NMR is being utilized in a real-life chemical education setting.
The 2014 Edison Awards ceremony took place in San Francisco, where Thermo Fisher Scientific was awarded the Bronze Medal in the ‘Lab Diagnostics’ category. The Edison Awards are an annual celebration of innovation in industry and services, and have been going since 1987. Winning an Edison Award medal is regarded as recognition of pioneering new products, or in thought-leadership to make the world a better place for those in need or less fortunate.
For perspective, the picoSpin 45 Spectrometer won the Silver medal in 2011 for its jaw-dropping (lack of) size, cost-of-entry, and cost-of-ownership, with its proven ability to satisfy the needs of educators in undergraduate chemistry programs all over the world. This time, the picoSpin 80 received an equally worthy prize for breaking down new barriers in benchtop NMR. For who are not aware of the unique capability of the picoSpin 80, it provides the strongest magnetic field of all the current crop of benchtop NMRs, two Tesla, which in turn produces an 82 MHz resonance frequency for hydrogen detection. Due to the concept of ‘chemical shift dispersion’, having the highest resonance frequency therefore provides the highest resolution available in order to more easily distinguish signals from each other. This is particularly helpful in complex mixtures, especially reaction mixtures where one expects starting material and products to exhibit mostly similar chemical structure, which can translate into closely, and sometimes overlapping, signals in the NMR spectrum. A nice addition is that the 80 has four times the sensitivity of the 45, and so all together is perfectly suited for the research environment where things are usually “messy”, signals often overlap, and sometimes there isn’t a lot of material around.
Back to the awards. To give you a flavor of the range of achievements that brought some of the smartest people in the world into one room, click here, and marvel at the genius of some of their ideas, which include ‘Robot Suit HAL’, an assistive device that helps a person recover from a spinal injury and to walk again by using intentional thoughts to drive a robot attached to their lower back and limbs. Amazing. Another worth mentioning is ‘Vyyken’, a company that intends to provide pure drinking water in public spaces, in an effort to reduce the use, and environmental damage, of plastic bottles. And a fun one also worth a shout-out is the ‘Coravin Wine Access System’ that allows one to pour wine from a corked bottle without removing the cork, and seemingly magically leaving the cork intact and airtight afterwards!
Special Achievement Awards were also awarded to honorary guests Elon Musk (PayPal™, Tesla™, SpaceX™, SolarCity™) and Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo™, now the world’s leading manufacturer of PCs.
The picoSpin team has excelled themselves once again, and all congratulations should go to them for dedication to their art. They are already hard at work working on the next generation of benchtop NMR innovations. This is just the beginning.
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