National Science Foundation awards chemistry department industry leading spectrometer

Asst. Prof. of Chemistry Matthew Brichacek, along with UMaine colleagues Prof. Alice Bruce, Asst. Prof. William Gramlich and Asst. Prof. Thomas Schwartz, and Prof. Karl Bishop of Husson University, are acquiring a 500 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer through a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation, worth over a half-million dollars. The NMR spectrometer is one of the most powerful tools available for chemists to use to make molecular structures more clear. Specifically, “it is used to identify unknown substances, to characterize specific arrangements of atoms within molecules, and to study the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution or in the solid state.”

The addition of this state-of-the-art instrument, the only one of its strength in the state of Maine, will provide new opportunities to scientists from biomedical research institutes like Jackson Laboratory and Maine Medical Center Research Institute. Educators from high schools and colleges like Bangor High School and Eastern Maine Community College will also be able to conduct experiments on the new NMR.

Using this spectrometer is essential to chemists who are carrying out frontier research on a range of topics, including biofuels.  The goal of this award is to enhance research and education at all levels. Eligibility for the award is restricted, and only about 20% of applications are funded. Due to the hard work and dedication of faculty members in the Department of Chemistry and their colleagues, the University of Maine, its students, and surrounding institutions, will benefit for years to come.