Our polarimeter measures how much an optically active compound can rotate polarized light. Many molecules that are important in the food or pharmaceutical industries display optical activity. The polarimeter can be used to determine their purity—a critical concern, for example, in the preparation of medicinal drugs. The polarimeter is part of Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry (CHM 260) where students characterize two cobalt complex isomers. A student also used the polarimeter to examine the kinetics of the brewing process of beer in an Independent Study (CHM 500/501).
The polarimeter was purchased through a grant from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and matching funds from W&J.