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Chemistry LibreTexts

10.1: Organic Structure Determination

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  • How do we know:

    • how atoms are connected together?

    • Which bonds are single, double, or triple?

    • What functional groups exist in the molecule?

    • If we have a specific stereoisomer? The field of organic structure determination attempts to answer these questions.'


    1. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) – Excitation of the nucleus of atoms through radiofrequency irradiation. Provides extensive information about molecular structure and atom connectivity.

    2. Infrared Spectroscopy (IR) – Triggering molecular vibrations through irradiation with infrared light. Provides mostly information about the presence or absence of certain functional groups.

    3. Mass spectrometry – Bombardment of the sample with electrons and detection of resulting molecular fragments. Provides information about molecular mass and atom connectivity.

    4. Ultraviolet spectroscopy (UV) – Promotion of electrons to higher energy levels through irradiation of the molecule with ultraviolet light. Provides mostly information about the presence of conjugated π systems and the presence of double and triple bonds.

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