Chemistry Department

Science and Engineering Facilities

The Chemistry Department at Union College is housed in the Science and Engineering Center, Olin Center and The Peter Irving Wold Center.

  • Organic Instrumentation Lab

    This room is used for Sophomore-level organic chemistry labs and for Advanced Organic labs. Most of the instrumentation which is used for Organic Chemistry teaching and research resides in this room. The major pieces of equipment in the Organic Instrumentation Lab include:

    • Flame Ionization Capillary Gas Chromatographs (2); Hewlett-Packard (Agilent) 5890’s
    • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer [Varian Gemini 200 with a C, H variable temperature probe. A N, P, Si, F probe is also available.]
    • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometers (2); Mattson Genesis II and Perkin-Elmer 1600
    • Six computer molecular modeling workstations running MacSpartan
  • Instrumentation Lab

    The Chemistry Department Instrumentation Lab holds a variety of major instrumentation which is shared by all members of the department. The equipment in this room is used for upper level student labs and for faculty and student research. Other equipment resides in the General Chemistry Instrumentation Lab, the Organic Chemistry Instrumentation Lab, the Molecular Modeling Lab, and in individual faculty research labs. A list of the equipment found in this room appears below the pictures.


    The major pieces of equipment in the Instrumentation Lab include:

    Chromatography & Separations

    • Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer [Hewlett-Packard 589]
    • Quaternary Gradient High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) [Hewlett-Packard Series 1100 with UV/VIS detection]
    • Capillary Electrophoresis [Hewlett-Packard 3D with diode array detection]


    • Electrochemical Trace Analyzer [EG&G 394 with static mercury dropping electrode]
    • Voltammetric Analyzer [BAS CV50W]


    • Flash Photolysis System [Xenon 457 with infrared Diode Laser detector]
    • Stopped Flow System [Applied Photophysics RX1000]

    Optical Spectroscopy

    • Diode-Array UV/VIS Spectrophotometers (4) [Hewlett-Packard 8452A and 8453]
    • Fluorometer [Photon Technology QuantaMaster]
    • Fluorescence Lifetime System [Photon Technology LS-100]
    • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer [Mattson Galaxy 6020]
    • Atomic Absorption Spectrometer [Perkin-Elmer 3100]
  • Aerogel Lab

    The College’s Aerogel Research Team is well represented in a special, peer-reviewed issue of the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids: Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on Aerogels.
    Two faculty members – Ann Anderson of mechanical engineering, and Mary Carroll of chemistry – are co-authors with a total of five recent alumni, one exchange student and one current student.

    The full citations for the papers are:
    · Ben M. Gauthier (’02), Smitesh D. Bakrania (’03), Ann M. Anderson, and Mary K. Carroll, “A Fast Supercritical Extraction Technique for Aerogel Fabrication.” J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 2004, 350, 238-243.
    · Ann M. Anderson, Smitesh D. Bakrania (’03), Jan Konecny (exchange student from Czech Republic), Ben M. Gauthier (’02), and Mary K. Carroll, “Detecting Sol-Gel Transition using Light Transmission.” J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 2004, 350, 259-265.
    · Desiree L. Plata (’03), Yadira J. Briones (’04), Rebecca L. Wolfe (’03), Mary K. Carroll, Smitesh D. Bakrania (’03), Shira G. Mandel (’05), and Ann M. Anderson, “Aerogel-Platform Optical Sensors for Oxygen Gas.” J. Non-Cryst. Solids, 2004, 350, 326-335.
    Anderson and Carroll were the only faculty from a liberal arts college or predominantly undergraduate institution to participate in the conference. The other attendees were from graduate-degree-granting institutions and national labs in the U.S. and Europe, or from companies working in aerogel-related fields. Anderson and Carroll also served as peer reviewers for other papers in the special issue.
    Anderson, the Thomas J. Watson, Sr. and Emma Watson-Day Associate Professor and chair of mechanical engineering; and Carroll, associate professor of chemistry, lead the interdisciplinary research project. It began in 2001, when Anderson and a student, Ben Gauthier ’02, began experimenting with a process to create the ultra-light matrix materials. After consulting chemistry faculty for help in understanding the chemical processes, students and faculty from both departments joined forces.
    The challenge for the aerogel researchers is to devise a manufacturing method that will make production of the material more cost effective. Current applications are widely used in the space program, where aerogels have been used as insulators on the Mars rover and to collect comet dust.