Term Project: Determination of an Unknown

The goals and components of this exercise are as follows:

  1. Solve the structure of an unknown molecule using what we have discussed in the course
  2. Increase your familiarity with the capabilities of the Department of Chemistry Instrumentation Facility
  3. Report data in ACS/thesis format so that you will have a reference for the future
  4. Present your analysis to the class so that all may learn from each other

At the beginning of the semester, you will be divided up into teams and given a sample of an organic molecule. Your assignment is threefold. One part is to determine the structure of this unknown, including the relative configuration (i.e. not absolute configuration). Another part of this assignment is not only to determine the structure of the unknown, drawn with ChemDraw or equivalent (required), but also to report all of the data given to you in the ACS journal format. Include in this report copies of the spectra that were necessary to assign the structure, and on each them clearly write the peak assignments and any other relevant information. We will grade these reports very strictly. They should be publication quality (as supporting information and/or in your thesis)!

The final part of the project is to present to the class (mandatory that all team members attend) how you solved the structure assigned to you. You may divide up the labor any way you wish (e.g. two people present, two write-up results), but each of you is responsible for all parts. That is, we may call on you to explain or comment on something during the presentation, even if you aren't the one up at the front of the class at the moment.

Student Projects

Below are sample projects from students who took this course.

  • Student Project #1 (PDF) and Supporting Spectra (PDF)
    (Courtesy of Christopher Morten and Brian Sparling. Used with permission.)
  • Student Project #2 (PDF)
    (Courtesy of Jeewoo Lim and Brett VanVeller. Used with permission.)