Principles of Analytical Chemistry

Instructor: Dr. Brian C. Smith

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Course Length: 2 days

Why take this course?

The Principles of Analytical Chemistry 2-day online course will introduce attendees
to the critical concepts needed to analyze samples properly. On the first day attendees will learn strategies
for optimizing analyses, how to correctly perform representative sampling, and the importance of
reporting results with the correct number of significant figures. Attendees will also learn the difference
between precision and accuracy, and how to measure and minimize error. The first day wraps up with
discussions of proper calibration practice and how to understand the statistics used in chemical analysis.

The second day of the course is devoted to an introduction to instrumental techniques commonly used in
forensic labs, with an eye towards teaching attendees how to choose the right analytical technique for
each sample. The basics of chromatography will be covered, including how to use an understanding of
chromatographic theory to optimize separations. We will then take a detailed look at gas and liquid
chromatography. The next topic is infrared spectroscopy, where instrumentation, sample preparation,
and spectral interpretation will be covered. The course wraps up with a look at mass spectrometry,
including sampling, instrumentation, data interpretation, and applications.

After taking this course attendees will have a better understanding of analytical chemistry, helping them
improve their performance in the lab while preparing them for more in-depth training.


Course Outline

I. What Is Analytical Chemistry?

  • A. Optimizing Analyses
  • B. Becoming a Problem Solver
  • C. Sampling
  • D. Significant Figures

II. Quantifying Measurement Error

  • A. Random Error and Its Sources
    • 1. Signal-to-Noise Ratios
    • 2. Getting Rid of Noise
  • B. Systematic Error
  • C. Precision and Accuracy

III. Quantifying Measurement Error (continued)

  • A. Calibrations
    1. Calibration Checks
    2. Calibration Applicability

IV. Statistics for Chemical Measurement

  • A. Mode, Median, Mean
  • B. The Standard Deviation
  • C. Confidence Limits

V. Introduction to Chromatography

  • A. Basic Theory
  • B. Modeling a Separation
  • C. Peak Widths
  • D. Resolution
  • E. Optimizing Separations
  • F. Gas Chromatography (GC)
  • G. High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

VI. Principles of Spectroscopy

  • A. The Properties of Light
  • B. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
    • 1. Instrumentation
    • 2. Sample Preparation: ATR
    • 3. Intro to IR Spectral Interpretation
  • C. Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-Vis) Spectroscopy
    • 1. Theory
    • 2. Instrumentation

VII. Mass Spectrometry

  • A. Overview
  • B. Sample Preparation
  • C. Instrument Design
  • D. Data Interpretation
  • E. Applications