DATABASE: Reading Between the Lines

Science  21 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5614, pp. 1821c
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5614.1821c

Premed students forced to take organic chemistry may kvetch about having to memorize the spectra of different compounds, but for working chemists, spectroscopy is a crucial tool for deciphering molecular structure and identifying samples. SpectraOnline holds spectroscopic data for thousands of compounds, collected by ultraviolet, Raman, nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared (IR), and other techniques.

Use of the site, hosted by the New Hampshire-based company ThermoGalactic, which sells spectroscopy software, is free with registration. You can search the database by compound name, Chemical Abstracts Service registry number, molecular formula, and molecular weight. Or you can input a spectrum for an unknown and hunt for a match.

spectra.galactic.com/SpectraOnline/Default_ns.htm

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