By James Ashenhurst

Now Available – The Spectroscopy Pack (PDF)

Last updated: December 18th, 2020 |

One of the most common complaints I hear from readers of Master Organic Chemistry is that there isn’t a lot of coverage of spectroscopy. And I’ve been sorry to say, they’re right. Spectroscopy problems can be pretty overwhelming to the uninitiated, and until now there hasn’t been much that MOC has done to help people with it.

The biggest struggle I find that students have with spectroscopy is that they don’t know how to quickly glean the most important information from each type of spectrum. 

For instance, instead of quickly looking at an IR for evidence of broad hydroxyl groups around 3300 cm-1 or strong carbonyl peaks around 1700 cm-1 , they see the forest of peaks below 1000 cm-1 , panic, and assume that they are supposed to be able to understand what each of them represent. Or they spend minutes poring over a mass spectrum without quickly noting the molecular ion peak M or looking for the presence/absence of strong M+2 peaks that would indicate halogens. Or they haven’t learned how valuable making a table from an 1H NMR spectrum can be in determining the structure of an unknown.

In other words, a lot of students don’t know how to do 80/20 analysis on spectra: what to pay attention to, and what to ignore.

In an ideal world, this would be the subject of a lot of blog posts. Lately, with 2 kids under 4, time to write has been tight, and with each blog post taking 5-10 hours to make, that’s a big time investment.

Instead, I decided to take that time and make a concentrated series of summary sheets I’m calling the Spectroscopy Pack.  The goal this package is to get across the basic need-to-know points of spectroscopy in a brief, useful format. 

The Spectroscopy Pack includes 15 sheets covering the following topics:

  • Index of Unsaturation 
  • UV-Visible Spectroscopy
  • Infrared (IR) spectroscopy (2 pages) Introduction, plus tips on interpretation
  • Mass Spectroscopy (MS) (2 pages) Introduction, plus fragmentation patterns
  • 13C NMR spectroscopy (2 pages) – Introduction + determining # of signals
  • 1H NMR spectroscopy (6 pages) Introduction, determining # of signals, integration + chemical shift, splitting (2 pages), and tips on interpreting spectra
  • Problem Solving Strategy 

It also includes a bonus 1-hour video that shows, in excruciating (but fun) detail, some examples of how to apply this “puzzle piece” problem solving method to obtain the structure of unknown molecules.

I don’t know of any other package out there that goes into this level of detail for introductory students, and I hope people find it useful. In the coming months I’ll be covering some of the key points on the blog.

Also, since it is new,  I’m making it available for a low price for a limited time. If you need help working on spectroscopy problems right now (or will be in the near future), you should check out the Spectroscopy Pack here! 

P.S. Just to give you an idea of the contents, here’s a sample of the UV-Visible Spectroscopy PDF


2-UV Vis spectroscopy


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