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SOFTWARE REVIEW: IR TUTOR, version 1.0 by Charles B. Abrams


Wilmon B. Chipman
Dept . of Chemical Sciences, Bridgewater State College
Bridgewater, MA 02325

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the Fall 1993 CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.
          The Perkin-Elmer Corporation (Mail Station 12, 761 Main Ave., Norwalk, CT 06856- 9966) has recently released a program called IR TUTOR as part of their 1600 Series FT-IR educational package. The entire package is listed at $2,000 but the price is reduced to $500 for purchasers of Perkin-Elmer IRs. I tested a pre-release copy of IR TUTOR the past summer in the second semester of introductory organic chemistry, and found the program to be a superb introduction to infrared spectroscopy. Not only did the students really enjoy using it, but what is more important, they learned how to interpretiR spectra. Twenty students had four unknowns each, and all of the IR spectra which they ran were interpreted correctly. The unknowns were taken from a much larger list of unknowns of varying diHiculty that we have been using for some time. The students received no other training on IR spectroscopy except that which they got during exams.
          The most striking feature of IR TUTOR is the animations of the bond vibrations that cause peaks in theIR spectra. Once you see these, you will never be happy with any other way of teaching about bond vibrations. The other animations are outstanding, particularly the illustration of light as a wave and the graphics that combined a graph of the energy with the state of the molecular vibration. The animated diagrams of diHerent types of IR instruments were also excellent. The best way I can describe the quality of the program is to state this is what CAl will be like ten years from now.
          The most useful feature of IR TUTOR is the ability to overlay two spectra and compare them, which allows an easy correlation of peaks with functional groups. This is a very useful teaching tool, and the program takes advantage of it. The program allows the user to select a peak, like one which might be apparent from the difference between two overlaid spectra; when the peak is selected, the program will display the vibration responsible for that peak.
          The only problem I found with the program was that you could not enter spectra into it. The author has informed me that the next version will allow the import of spectra from the P-E 1600 IR. The next version will also include an interactive, animated, correlation table and more theory, including a detailed explanation of the Fouriertransform.
          IR TUTOR could be used in the lecture part of a course, as a part of the lab, or as an independent assignment. Students seem to need from two to two and a hall hours to finish the program. Students who have had no microcomputer ex perience are able to complete the program without help in running it. I am fortunate to have access to a lab with ten Mac Quadras, to which I assigned students in pairs; while I walked around the room commenting, teaching, or looking for students with problems running the program. (There weren't any.) IR TUTOR could be used with a single projection TV in a classroom. I did use it with an expensive LCD panel projector, but I wonder if it would work satisfactorily with the less expensive LCDs, because of problems in displaying the animated bond vibrations.
          IR TUTOR comes in Yet'Sions for both the Mecinto:lh, (SE II Series, LC II, Powerbook 180, Quedt'e, Perform e) and IBM PC or ctone under Windows. A co tor monitor is desirable. The Mac and IBM versions look identical if the PC monitor is set to 256 colors. The author of the program used a very interesting way to produce the Mac and IBM versions essentially at the same time. Macromind Director and Windows Player from Macromedia, 600 Townsend St., San Francisco, CA 94103). This system produces really superb CAl, with spectacular animations.
Rumor at the Chicago ACS Meeting was that Perkin-Elmer would accept the serial number of a Perkin-Elmer IR as sufficient evidence to get the discount. 
An outline of the program follows:
1. Introduction to Spectroscopy
          A. Definition of Spectroscopy
          B. Nature of Light
          C. Measurement of an Infrared Spectrum
II. Theory of Infrared Spectroscopy
          A. Classical Model of a Molecule
          B. Quantum Mechanical Model of a Molecule
          C. Normal Modes and Group Frequencies
Ill. Interpretation of Spectra
          A. Hexane
          B. Dimethyl Butanes
                    1. 2-methyl-1-butene
                    2. 2-methyl-2-butene
          C. 1-Hexene
                    1 . trans-2-hexene
          D. 1-Heptyne
          E. Heptyl Cyanide
          F. Toluene
                    1. a-xylene
                    2. m-xylene
                    3. p-xylene
          G. Hexane!
                    1. 2-propanol
                    2. 2-methyl-2-butanol
          H. Hexyl Amine
                    1 . dibutyl amine
                    2. tributyl amine
          I. Heptyl Aldehyde
          J. 3-Heptanone
          K. Heptanoic Acid
          L. Ethyl Acetate
          M. Butyric Anhydride


09/07/93 to 09/10/93