Facilities & Instrumentation

The Department has a wide range of instrumentation, including high performance liquid chromatography, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, atomic absorbance spectrometry and multinuclear superconducting nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry. View a complete list of departmental instrumentation.

  • Introductory Chemistry Introductory Chemistry. The introductory chemistry laboratory is located on the first floor of the Kapp Science Building. Students work in this laboratory during their first term perform various experiments and gain experience with modern equipment. Each lab station is equipped with a fume hood, ensuring a safe working environment. In addition each station can be hooked up with our movable computers to collect and process data during a lab experiment.

  • Organic Chemistry Organic Chemistry. In the organic laboratory, students work with small quantities of reactants and use microscale glassware. In this laboratory, they learn to use the basic tools of organic chemistry, such as thin layer chromatography, product isolation and characterization. They also carry out a variety of synthetic reactions.

  • Computer Lab Computer Lab. A computer cluster is connected to the introductory chemistry laboratory. Computers in this cluster are equipped with a variety of software to support student work in chemistry and other courses. All computers are mobile and are moved into the lab for online data acquisition.

  • Physical Chemistry.
    In the physical chemistry lab, students apply the laws of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics in theoretical computations to predict the behavior of molecules in the laboratory. The students then test their theories using instrumentation such as the bomb calorimeter, as shown here.

  • Independent Research Independent Research. Independent research is an important component of the chemistry program at Alma College. Each professor has their own research laboratory located adjacent to their offices. These labs each contain ample hoods for sample preparation and reactions. Independent research takes place on a close individual basis between the student and professor and allows access to state of the art equipment.

  • Mass Spectroscopy Mass Spectroscopy. Used during the course of Organic and Analytical Chemistry laboratories as well as independent research projects, this instrument combines the separation capabilities of the gas chromatograph with the spectral analysis of a mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer subjects molecules to electron impact, which causes the molecules to undergo fragmentation. These charged particles are then analyzed, telling us about the structure of the molecule. 

  • Computational Chemistry. Students perform quantum chemistry calculations to predict the behavior of molecules in the laboratory.  The computational lab is outfitted with 8 iMac computers with Intel i5 4-core processors and an assortment of scientific software including Spartan and GAMESS computational chemistry packages.

  • Biotage Initiator Eight Synthesis Microwave Microwave Reactor. Our microwave reactor allows for controlled rapid heating of a reaction mixture. The resulting elevated temperatures allow reactions to proceed at an accelerated rate, significantly reducing the normal time for a reaction. Our reactor is outfitted with an automated sample changer.

  • Gas Chromatography Gas Chromatography. The two organic labs and the adjacent instrument lab constitute the organic suite. After compounds have been synthesized and isolated, students use instrumentation to characterize their products. Besides the FTIR spectrometers, there are six gas chromatographs in this lab. The GC is most commonly used to determine purity but it can also be used to isolate small quantities of pure compounds from mixtures.

  • Infrared Analysis Infrared Analysis. Infrared spectroscopy is an important tool for the analysis of the structure of compounds. Infrared spectra indicate the types of functional groups that are present in the sample. Our Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometers are routinely used to analyze compounds that are synthesized during the laboratory period.

  • Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy is used in a variety of ways in the classroom and in the research lab. AA is widely used at Alma College, from the freshman orientation course to look at gun shot residue to a wide variety of projects looking at metals in environmental samples from locations in Mexico to Michigan.

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Adjacent to the organic chemistry laboratories is the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance laboratory.  Acquired in 2016 to replace our 300 MHz instrument, this superconducting magnet produces a field of 9.4 Tesla; protons are detected at 400 MHz at this field strength. This Bruker AVANCE III HD NMR is configured with a broad-band heteronuclear probe so that a variety of nuclei, including C13, P31 and B11, can be readily detected. Students collect one-dimensional and two-dimensional data in support of their course work and independent research.


A Complete List of Departmental Instrumentation:

  • 4 x Agilent Series 1100 HPLC
  • Perkin Elmer Series 200 HPLC
  • Varian Model SD-1 Prepstar HPLC with Model 700 fraction collector
  •  HP 5890 Series II GC with attached 5971A mass selective detector and HP 7694E Headspace Sampler
  • HP 6890 Series GC with attached Tekmar 3100 sample concentrator
  • 6 x GOW-MAC Series 350 GC instruments
  • 2 x Bruker Alpha FT-IR spectrometer with diamond ATR
  • Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatograph
  • Shimadzu UV-1800 spectrometer
  • Varian SpectrAA 220 Atomic Absorption spectrometer
  • Bruker Avance III HD 400 MHz NMR spectrometer with multinuclear broadband probe
  • Biotage Initiator microwave synthesizer with 8-position robotic sample changer
  • CEM MDS-81D microwave
  • Vacuum Atmospheres TS-5000 Inert Atmosphere Dry Box
  • Rayonet photochemical reactor
  • Parr hydrogenation apparatus
  • Ozonator


  • 8 dedicated workstations outfitted with computational chemistry (Spartan) and mathematical modeling (Maple) software.

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