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Hands-on experience

The chemistry department has a comprehensive suite of instrumentation for the isolation and characterization of chemical substances. These instruments have been obtained with funding from a wide range of federal, state and institutional sources. Most instruments are shared with all members of the department, with our primary users being undergraduate students, both in courses and in carrying out collaborative research outside of the classroom. Additionally, there are a number of specialized research instruments that serve the needs of specific faculty projects.  Members of the chemistry department also have access to a range of instruments available in the Materials Science and Engineering Center, which can be used for elemental and surface analyses. In addition, several chemistry faculty are major users of high-performance computing resources, and have access to UWEC’s Blugold Supercomputing Cluster.

See the instruments named below and see more details about each.

Multi-user instrumentation

A nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer is used to determine the structures of organic molecules. Our spectrometer is a three-channel instrument equipped with a variable-temperature unit and 5 mm TXI/Z-gradient three-channel indirect detection probe 5 mm BBO/Z-gradient two-channel broadband probes. This instrument is also capable of CP-MAS solids experiments and has a 120 slot autosampler. Spectra are analyzed using TopSpin, Sparky and iNMR.

Bruker Avance II NMR Spectrometer
Agilent 6120 LC/Mass Spectrometer

An LC/mass spectrometer is used to separate molecules in a solution mixture an accurately determine the molecular masses of each of the molecules in the mixture. This instrument includes an Agilent model 1200 Agilent HPLC system interfaced to an Agilent 6120 Time-of-Flight mass spectrometer and has both a dual ESI and APCI/ESI ionization sources. In addition to the mass detector, the HPLC also has an in-line diode array UV/Visible detector. Spectra are analyzed using Agilent’s  Masshunter software.

HPLC liquid chromatography is used to separate molecules in a solution mixture. Both systems have autosamplers and Diode Array UV/Visible detectors for detecting and quantifying the molecules in the mixture. Chromatograms are collected and analyzed using Agilent's Chemstation software.

Varian ProStar Analytical/Preparative System

This HPLC system is capable of both analytical and preparative scale separations. It has two ProStar 210 solvent delivery systems supporting flow rates up to 25 mL/min, a ProStar 335 dual path diode array UV/Visible detector, and a ProStar 410 fraction collector. Chromatograms are collected and analyzed using Varian's Galaxie software.

UV/Visible spectrophotometers are used to measure the absorption of visible an ultraviolet light by molecules dissolved in a solution. The department has 4 Cary-50 UV/Visible spectrophotometers, each having a Peltier temperature control unit. The department also has a high resolution UV/Visible spectrophotometer that contains Cary-14 optics, and which has been recently upgraded with OLIS electronics and software.

Cary UV/Visible Spectrophotometers
Thermo Nicolet iS5 FTIR Spectrometers and 2 Thermo-Nicolet Nexus FTIR Spectrometers

A Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer is used to analyze vibrational motions within a molecule, and can be used to identify molecules and groups of atoms within molecules.  Sampling accessories for these instruments include attenuated total reflectance and diffuse reflectance. In addition to DTGS detectors, there is an MCT detector available for use with the Nexus benches.

Agilent GC/MS

A gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer is used to separate a mixture of molecules in the gas state then determine the masses of the molecules and their fragments. The instrument can be used to identify unknown molecules. Our instrument includes an Agilent 7820A gas chromatograph with a 5977E mass spectrometer detector and autosampler.

These two CG's are used primarily to support our organic chemistry courses.


A microwave-plasma atomic emission spectrometer is used by analytical chemists to detect and quantify metal ions in a sample.

Agilent 4200 MP-AES chemistry instrumentation

Computational work in the Chemistry Department is carried out on the Blugold Supercomputer Cluster (BGSC), which is maintained by Learning and Technology Services at UW-Eau Claire. The cluster has 7 8-core nodes, 4 12-core nodes and 13 20-core nodes for a total of 364 cores. Several of the nodes are gpu equipped.  The cluster job scheduling software is slurm.

Software resources on the cluster include Gaussian, Q-chem, Mathematica, the Intel ifort compiler, and the PGI Fortran compiler. There are four research active groups in the chemistry department making heavy use of the cluster.

(Click here to visit the BGSC website)

Dr. Bhattacharyay working with another professor on the supercomputer.

Research instrumentation


An X-ray diffractometer is used to determine the three-dimensional structures of molecules in the crystal state. The diffractometer is equipped with a Mo-K radiation source(l= 0.71073 Å) and cryogenic sample cooling to 150K.  Reflections are indexed, integrated, and corrected for Lorentz, polarization, and absorption effects using DENZO-SMN and SCALEPAC.  Structures are solved by a combination of direct methods and heavy atom using SIR 97.  Hydrogen atom coordinates are assigned using SHELXL97.

A stopped-flow instrument is used to quickly mix two solutions to initiate a reaction and to then monitor the kinetics of the reaction. Our two-syringe system has a minimal dead time of ~1.0 ms and can measure spectra from 275 to 700 nm using a PMT, diode array, fluorescence and circular dichroism detection for sample temperatures from 2.0-80.0 °C.

Applied Photophysics SX/18MV Stopped-flow system

Optical cryostats are devices that enable the preparation of a sample at extremely low temperatures, 10K and 4K in these specific cases. They are often used for isolating unstable compounds in inert solids (e.g., solid neon, argon, or nitrogen.)

Lasers produce high-energy beams of light in which the wavelength, or color, can be controlled with very high precision. Lasers are used to investigate molecules used in photochemical reactions.

Drucker laser lab

Using this instrumentation, experimenters spray a sample of gaseous molecules through through a tiny nozzle into a vacuum chamber. This procedure cools the molecules to very low temperature without causing the sample to freeze into a solid. The cooled molecules are investigated by interaction with a laser. The jet cooling simplifies the experimental results and allows one to interpret the data with higher precision. 

Instrumentation in Materials Science and Engineering Center

Chemistry students enjoy access to additional instrumentation housed in the Materials Science + Engineering Center, another tremendous asset to STEM research here on campus. Check out the MSEC website for details about additional instruments.

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