Date: March 4, 2020
Simon Fraser University | Chemistry
Tim Storr, Associate Professor

Hamilton products provide an opportunity to dispense microliter volumes of reagents in precise fashion, allowing for the in-depth analysis of reaction processes. Proper syringe techniques are taught in upper year inorganic laboratory courses, and then continued in our honors research programs, with many of these students continuing into graduate school. In my bioinorganic research program we use Hamilton syringes on a daily basis for the precise addition of redox reagents to transition metal catalysts to follow oxidation and reduction processes, and subsequent reaction chemistry of the activated forms. In one example, oxidation of a metal nitride leads to subsequent homocoupling and formation of dinitrogen (JACS 2016, 138, 15299). In this work we use microliter syringes to initiate the reaction, and then standard GC injection syringes to monitor N2 formation. Hamilton syringes are robust and incredibly useful, however the widespread use of these syringes by undergraduate and graduate students leads to eventual wear and tear and breakage!

Teaching: The precise addition of reagents to reactions, and dispensing of samples for analysis, is a critical learning outcome in upper year undergraduate courses. Hamilton syringes provide a robust and effective method for performing these tasks and will prepare chemistry undergraduate students for the next step in their careers.

Research: Hamilton syringes are an integral part of our research. We commonly use microliter syringes for the preparation of reactions as they allow for the precise addition of reagents, and in addition, are inert to many of the redox reagents we use in our chemistry. We can also accurately transfer reactive species for chemical analysis without significant sample degradation. As we move into a new phase of our research Hamilton syringes will allow for the accurate analysis of reaction products. This will include the GC analysis of N2, H2, and small molecule activation products from C-N bond forming chemistry.

Our students work at the interface of inorganic chemistry and biology to understand reactivity profiles of bioinspired catalysts. I support a unique training environment for undergraduate students and host a large number of undergraduates and international exchange students in my research laboratory. We firmly believe in training undergraduate students in cutting-edge chemistry techniques, and this is carried out in both courses and in our research laboratories. I am also a strong proponent of graduate student mentorship, ensuring that it is a key component of training next generation researchers. Finally, my research program aims to incorporate bioinspired catalyst design to develop novel small-molecule activation chemistry. Hamilton syringes are a critical component of our laboratory training and research success!

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