The isolation and study of new chemical compounds from diverse sources, such as plants, animals and bacteria, is a hugely important area of chemical research because such studies can lead to the discovery of new medicines.
Three stages are involved: isolation of the compound, analysis of its molecular structure and chemical properties, and then synthesis of the compound in the lab.
In this project, we will use caffeine as a case study to explore these three stages. You will isolate caffeine from various natural and unnatural sources, such as coffee and energy drinks, and also synthesise it from various starting materials. You will then analyse your products using the Chemistry Department’s state-of-the-art instruments.