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We have a brand new Mettler-Toledo ReactIR 15 sitting in my lab. It is rather simple to use- just dip the probe in your reaction mixture. It needs a little LN2 to chill the detector. The software is reasonable, bearing some resemblance to iControl of the RC1 sitting a few meters away.
The instrument is used to follow the progress of a reaction by monitoring the growth or extinction of IR absorptions. What is interesting for the user is that it is not necessary to identify any of the peaks in the course of an experiment. The software can integrate absorptions and plot their change over time. The fingerprint region of the IR spectrum is put to good use in that it is a fruitful region for numerous absorptions to appear.
The thing is still new to us, so we’re early in the learning curve. The probe in use has a wave number range from 2500 to about 650 reciprocal centimeters. It is possible to detect up to 3000 wave numbers with a different probe. The probe is connected to the interferometer by a fibre optic cable comprised of a silver bromide optical pathway.
The thing is the size of a coffee maker and costs as much as a used helicopter. The ATR probe tip is small enough to be immersed in experiments at the scale of a scintillation vial or a 5 liter flask.
What it brings to the table is the ability to follow the progress of reactions in real time for process optimization. Pulling samples and trudging over to the NMR for in-process checks is tiresome and time consuming.
One limitation is the electrical classification. As with other electrical devices you have pay attention to the NFPA classification of the space it sits in. The ReactIR 15 is class 1, but not division 1. If the instrument must be used in this space, there are ways to fashion an enclosure to get around this, according to Mettler. Have a look at your computer as well. If your computer throws sparks and coal cinders, you may want to keep it away from that pool of pet ether on the floor.
With uptick of natural gas exploration and “recovery” happening, you have to wonder if anyone is bothering to look for helium in it? And I’m referring to the Marcellus shale formation in particular. Wouldn’t it be nice for some forethought here and try to recover some of the helium that may be lost. Helium is a non-renewable resource and is critical to many industrial sectors, including superconductor applications.
The US has held helium in reserve since 1925. Helium extraction has been most fruitful from gas wells in the western states. The Helium Privatization Act of 1996 has resulted in the release of the helium reserve to the private sector at a federally mandated price. The FY2011 price is$75.00 per thousand cubic feet.
According to the BLM, the agency that manages the strategic reserve, their enrichment facility in Amarillo, TX, can produce 6 million cu ft per day of crude helium at ca 80 % purity. The Amarillo plant provides crude He to refiners who polish it to the necessary level of purity for the end user.
This morning I found out what a “lipid raft” is. All of these years I’ve been in the dark about order and disorder in cell membranes. I didn’t learn about this through any sort of noble quest; I was merely curious about a movie.
Molecular Movies is a website containing links to a marvelous set of animations about cells and molecules. I enthusiastically recommend that the reader visit this site. The movie mentioning lipid rafts is in “The Inner Life of the Cell“.
There are interesting sites out there that list antiquated chemical terms. One apparently authoritative site lists 18th Century chemical terms (compiled by Jon Eklund of Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology).
Some terms seem to remain quite useful, some are hopelessly irrelevant, and others are just odd. Naturally, I am attracted to the odd words. Have a look for yourself. Here are a few good ones copied verbatum from early in the alphabet-
I wonder if any of these would get through the peer review process if one were to try to use them in a procedure submitted for publication? Perhaps if Roald Hoffmann used them, I suppose.
In the course of searching chemical topics I keep running into the on-line publication Molecules, A Journal of Synthetic Organic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry. This journal is part of MDPI, Molecular Diversity Preservation International, with an office in Basel, Switzerland. MDPI is also dedicated to the “deposit and exchange of molecular and biomolecular samples”.
The idea behind this journal is to provide open access. The journal asserts that, with this approach, articles get substantially higher citation numbers. Open access is an alternative to paid subscriptions. In this model, the author pays the publication fee up front for peer reviewed editorial oversight and rapid publication.
This was covered by C&EN in the July 3 of 06 issue. It was stated in the article that Elsevier was planning to offer the same service for authors who wanted free access for a cool US$6,000 per article. The Public Library of Science has a similar program, but with a more reasonable price structure.
What I find especially exciting about this publication mode is the MolBank service. Have you ever ended up with new compounds or data that was perhaps deserving of disclosure but not part of a body of work that would develop into paper? Here is a blurb from the website-
Molbank (ISSN 1422-8599, CODEN: MOLBAI) publishes one-compound-per-paper short notes and communications on synthetic compounds and natural products. Solicited timely review articles will also be published. Molbank was published during 1997-2001 as MolBank section of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049, CODEN: MOLEFW). Since 2002 it is published as a separate and independent journal. Molbank is a free online Open Access Journal. To be added to the subscriber’s mailing list, write your e-mail address into the “Publication Alert” box on the right side, and press the “Subscribe” button. Molbank is indexed and abstracted very rapidly by Chemical Abstracts.
Interestingly, this could be a possible venue for defensive disclosures in intellectual property. Hmmm …
The question is, will paying-to-publish be cheaper than paying-to-subscribe? And, how will library administration have to change to accommodate this?
But perhaps the bigger issue may be related to a certain snobismus that exists in regard to publishing. At some point, the rock stars of research (Whitesides, Trost, etc.) need to wave their hands over this mode of publishing and utter something like “verily, it is good” so the rest of the herd will thunder in that direction.
The writer of this blog has vented on this issue several times. Putting public financed research results into free public access is the fair thing to do and should contribute to innovation and get new technologies into use at lower cost. Turning over copyright of research papers to private third party groups only adds to the expense and complication to the use of this national treasure.
No doubt this will be vigorously opposed by the publishing establishment. The US$6000 fee charged by Elsevier is absurd and in reality is the beginning of the end of their publically financed milking of the R&D cash cow.