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Originally published in 2008, the underlying essence of a structure elucidation process is to structurally distinguish an unknown from a set of possible isomers. This is evident by the number of possible isomers for a given molecular formula. The chart below divides isomers into three groups: Structural/Constitutional/Regio, Spin and Stereo/Spatial isomers. Wikipedia links are included...

In collaboration with Sequoia Sciences Inc., we developed a strategy for the dereplication of a complete or a partial structure using 1H NMR, 1H–13C HSQC and 1H–1H COSY spectral data, a molecular formula composition range and structural fragments against a massive database of about 22 million compounds is considered. The work was based on 18...

The warning flag for this puzzle is evident in the intensities of the signals. For an unknown compound, the TOF-ESI+ mass spectrum below shows the expanded region around four isotope clusters at m/z 300.336 ([M+H]+), 322.307 ([M+Na]+), 599.672 ([2M+H]+) and 621.611 ([2M+Na]+). The intensities of the 13C isotopes (i.e. the [M+1] signal) vary between 40...

A key element in data interpretation is to identify any warning flags. Warning flags can help a chemist differentiate good data from bad data. For an unknown compound, the TOF-ESI+ mass spectrum below shows the expanded region around four isotope clusters at m/z 300.336 ([M+H]+), 322.307 ([M+Na]+), 599.672 ([2M+H]+) and 621.611 ([2M+Na]+). Are the intensities...

Quaternary carbons can be tricky in identifying. Keep your options open to ensure the bigger picture is not missed. The expanded region of the 13C NMR spectrum shows 4 signals for an unknown compound. The signal at 172 ppm represents 1 or 2 amide group(s). The higher intensity of the signal at 172 ppm in...

Spectral data is just data until you can see the bigger picture. This puzzle looks at a scenario of quaternary carbons. For an unknown compound, a standard 13C NMR spectrum (500 MHz CDCl3) was collected. The expanded region below shows 4 signals. Is the signal at 172 ppm attributed to 1 or 2 carbons (from...

Yes, basic counting is important in solving an unknown. How did you stack up with this puzzle? The 13C NMR spectrum below shows 7 signals in total, 3 intense signals and 4 weak signals. The 4 weak signals follow a quartet pattern produced by a CF3 group. The unknown contains a minimum of 4 C...

A key step in interpreting NMR data is in counting correctly the number of signals associated to the compound of interest. This puzzle covers one particular example. For a pure unknown compound, the 13C NMR spectrum below shows several 13C signals at varying intensities. What is the minimum C atom count?

The results for calculating the empirical formula for an unknown compound using data from elemental analysis are presented. An elemental analysis was collected for an unknown organic compound. A 0.30 g sample of the unknown was burned to completion and it gave 59.6 % C, 6.9 % H and 8.7 % N. The results are...