My research, thus far, has involved the synthesis and X-ray crystallographic characterization of a complex salt, that was identified as [Co(II)(DMSO)6][Co(II)Cl3quinoline]2. In order to characterize the product further, we have used infra-red (IR) spectroscopy, which can tell us more about the frequency of specific vibrations within the molecule, and thus give us more structural information. Several Infrared (IR) spectra were acquired of each reagent used (i.e., anhydrous cobalt(II) chloride, quinoline, and dimethyl sulfoxide), and they were compared to that of the product, [Co(II)(DMSO)6][Co(II)Cl3quinoline]2. When analyzing IR spectra, one aims to identify the frequencies at which infrared radiation is absorbed by the molecule. The frequencies (reported as wavenumbers, 1/cm) that are absorbed are due to bonds within the molecule stretching or bending. The middle region, which includes the 4000-400 1/cm range is most useful for the analysis of organic compounds using IR spectroscopy.
Some common misconceptions about IR spectroscopy are that this technique is used to identify entire structures of an unknown molecule along with the necessity to identify each individual peak. IR is useful towards identifying certain functional groups, such as carbon-hydrogen vibrations in alkanes or alkenes and oxygen-hydrogen vibrations in alcohols. Oftentimes, the data acquired through this tool is complementary to other techniques such as UV-Visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, which will also be used in this study.
The preparation of a manuscript describing the results of this experiment took several months to prepare during the end of the fall semester. This process has provided me an introduction to research methodology (i.e., critical reading of scientific journals, preparation of an abstract, presentation of findings by poster). The finished paper was submitted to Acta Crystallographica and we are very excited that the manuscript was accepted in January of 2018. Along with analyzing the spectroscopic data acquired, I am also in the process of preparing my poster presentation for the convened poster session at the Society of Fellows Conference in March.