Research Facilities

The Department of Chemistry maintains a wide array of sophisticated instrumentation necessary for modern chemical research. Departmental researchers also have access to shared user facilities maintained by other departments and by the many campus-wide research centers. Among these is the Protein Chemistry Core Facility at Columbia’s Medical School, which provides protein sequencing, amino acid analysis, and peptide and DNA synthesis services. Additional facilities for research in microelectronics, photochemistry, and superfast dynamic processes are housed in the Columbia Microelectronic Sciences Laboratory (Columbia Radiation Laboratory). Work in nanoscience/nanotechnology is supported by several near-field optical microscopes, scanning tunneling microscopes, and atomic force microscopes housed on the Morningside campus. The Columbia Nano Initiative also maintains an array of electron microscopes in its state-of-the-art Electron Microscopy facility housed on the first floor of the Department’s own Havemayer Hall. At nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) generates short-pulse optical radiation from 1 to 10,000 Angstroms for spectroscopy and photochemistry experiments.

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The Department of Chemistry is home to ten NMR spectrometers, including four instruments with solid-state capabilities. Our facilities allow researchers to conduct all common NMR experiments as well as many more complex experiments, and many of our instruments are capable of observing most NMR active nuclei. Seven of these instruments are available for use by all trained departmental researchers, while three are maintained by the McDermott Research Group.

A list of departmental instruments is below:
  • 2 x 500 MHz Bruker (Main NMR Facility)
    2 x 400 MHz Bruker (Main NMR Facility)
    2 x 300 MHz Bruker(Main NMR Facility)
    1 x 60 MHz (Undergraduate Teaching Lab)
    1 x 600 MHz Varian (McDermott Group)
    1 x 400 MHz Varian (McDermott Group)
    1 x 400 MHz Varian (McDermott Group)
Mass Spec at Columbia Chemistry

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The mass spectrometry facility in the Department of Chemistry is designed to provide chemists with valuable data quickly and easily. Users can monitor reaction progress by SFC-MS or TLC-MS, identify isolated products by direct injection of solutions into a mass spectrometer, analyze neat oils or insoluble solids with the atmospheric solids analysis probe (ASAP), and characterize large molecules, polymers, and biomolecules with the MALDI TOF.  Researchers can also quantify sample concentrations and determine enantiomeric ratios with SFC-MS or SFC-MS/MS.  Interested researchers should contact Dr. Fereshteh Zandkarimi, manager of the mass spec facility, for instrument training or submitting samples for accurate mass analysis/high resolution mass spec.

Walk-Up Mass Spec

Walk-up access to the following instruments is given to trained users. If you are interested in using these instruments, sign up for training by adding your name and contact info to the sign-up sheet outside 544 Havemeyer (in the case of the MALDI TOF, contact Dr. Fereshteh Zandkarimi).

  1. The SFC-MS instrument consists of a Waters SQD2 quadrupole mass spectrometer equipped with a UPC2 SFC inlet, a photodiode array (PDA) UV-vis detector, and a dual ESI/APCI probe (ESI = electrospray ionization, APCI = atmospheric pressure chemical ionization). A column manager houses and automatically switches between 7 different SFC columns and a bypass line (for direct analysis of a sample without chromatography). The columns cover a wide range of chemistries, including two chiral columns for analyzing ratios of stereoisomers. Users can choose from a variety of generic SFC methods or work with a super-user to develop a new method for their specific needs. For more information about the instrument (including sample preparation, submitting samples, and accessing and processing data remotely) check out the SFC-MS User Guide.  Installed April 2015.
  2. The CMS instrument consists of an Advion expression-L CMS quadrupole mass spectrometer equipped with ESI and APCI sources, which can both be used for flow injection analysis and the Plate Express TLC plate reader. The APCI source also includes a port for ASAP. With this multi-functional instrument, users can rapidly analyze solutions by direct injection, identify neat solids or oils by ASAP, or monitor reactions by TLC-MS with the TLC plate reader. Many labs have a group super-user who can help answer common questions and assist with their labmates’ training. A list of lab super-users as well as more information about the instrument can be found in the Advion CMS User Guide.  Installed December 2015.
  3. The MALDI TOF instrument is a Bruker ultrafleXtreme MALDI TOF/TOF with a frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser (355 nm), linear and reflector modes, and Precursor Ion Selector and LIFT technologies for MS/MS analysis.  Interested users should contact Dr. Fereshteh Zandkarimi to schedule a training session, or non-trained researchers may submit samples for analysis by using the Mass Spec Sample Submission Form.  Installed December 2016.
Accurate Mass/High Resolution Mass Spec (HRMS)

Alongside the MALDI TOF in 216 Havemeyer, our second HRMS instrument combines many of the functions of the walk-up instruments (SFC, direct infusion, and ASAP modes) but with a QTOF mass spectrometer for accurate mass and MS/MS measurements. The instrument consists of a Waters XEVO G2-XS QToF mass spectrometer equipped with a UPC2 SFC inlet, on-board fluidics, an ESI probe, an APCI probe, and an ASAP.  Installed February 2015.

This instrument is not available for walk-up use, so follow the instructions below for submitting a sample for Accurate Mass/HRMS analysis:

  1. Fill out the Mass Spec Sample Submission Form and email a copy to Dr. Fereshteh Zandkarimi with your sample name in the subject line (for example, “BF123_f4”). If you require any experiment other than routine HRMS analysis, email Dr. Zandkarimi to discuss the experiment before submitting your sample. If you are not currently performing research at Columbia University or Barnard College, you MUST email Dr. Zandkarimi before submitting any samples.
  2. Only PURIFIED samples may be submitted for routine Accurate Mass analysis. Prepare your sample in a vial or Eppendorf tube, ideally as the neat compound, and label the vial/tube with your sample name. To ensure the highest quality data and the most efficient use of the instrument, you MUST indicate precisely (within 0.5 mg) how much sample you are submitting on the HRMS Sample Submission Form. If the sample must be kept in solution, an accurate concentration must be provided (for example, mg/mL or mM).
  3. Bring your sample along with a printed copy of the Mass Spec Sample Submission form to Havemeyer 216, and place it on the cart labeled “Submit New Samples Here.” If your sample is air or light sensitive or needs to be kept cold, please speak with Dr. Zandkarimi before bringing your sample down so he can make the proper arrangements.
  4. The results for your sample will be emailed to you when analysis has been completed.

You can find the HRMS Sample Submission Form on the Forms page under the Facilities tab 

The department’s computing facility is a 100-MHz network of machines optimized for maximum computational capability and data throughput. Among these networked machines are 75 dual-processor Intel platforms, 9 Dell PowerEdge machines, and 10 SGI Origin 200 dual-processor systems. Our file server is a Sun SPARC Ultra 5 Model 333. It serves a 500-Gb RAID 5 storage array. There is also a 200-Gb RAID array available for processing large data sets. The department has 3 SGI Octane computers for viewing graphical output from molecular modeling programs such as Macromodel. Other computational software available to researchers are MSI Insight II, Grasp, Jaguar, Titan, and Rasmol.

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The Precision Biomolecular Characterization Facility (PBCF) is located primarily in Havemeyer Hall, rooms 546 and 428.  This core facility is new and will be adding instruments, capabilities, and additional space soon. The PBCF will provide access to state of the art biophysical and biochemical instrumentation focused on the study of conformations, activities and assembly of biological and other macromolecules.    For access to the PBCF and the Badger LIMS scheduler, or to coordinate training, contact Jia Ma, Manager of the PBCF.

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Materials science researchers have access to a wide range of spectroscopy, crystallography and other  instruments for materials characterization in the Columbia Nano Initiative’s SMCL, housed on the second and fifth floors of Havemeyer Hall.

List of instruments in 224 Havemeyer:

  • Woollam Alpha-SE Ellipsometer
  • Woollam Variable-Angle Spectroscopic Ellipsometer
  • Agilent 8453 UV/Vis Spectrophotometer
  • Malvern Zeta Sizer Nano-ZS
  • Cryogenic R-700X SQUID Magnetometer
  • TA Instruments Q500 TGA
  • Agilent SuperNova SCXRD
  • Micrometrics ASAP 2020 HV BET analyzer

List of instruments in 542/544 Havemeyer:

  • Agilent 1260 Infinity GPC
  • Eco SEC HT GPC
  • Bruker Dimension FastScan AFM
  • PANalytical XPert3 Powder XRD
  • Phi 5500 XPS
  • Renishaw inVia micro-Raman Spectrometer
  • Autofinders
  • Horiba micro-Raman Spectrometer
  • TA Instruments Q500 TGA
  • Agilent SuperNova SCXRD