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Looking back at PANIC, and forward to ENC

by Patrick Wheeler, NMR Product Manager, (ACD/Labs)

This is always an exciting time of year in the NMR community. The early part of the year usually offers a few “quiet moments” to work on projects that have not been receiving enough attention. However, quite quickly we enter into the conference season, with PANIC, PITTCON, ACS, and ENC in short order. These meetings are an excellent opportunity to connect with new science, reconnect with old colleagues, and meet some new faces. One attribute of a conference that can set it off well is when the content connects with the surroundings. PANIC was in Houston and did well this year with an enlightening pair of presentations on the first day from Sonia Menezes, a senior research consultant at Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, and from Nate Bachman, a physicist and project manager for oil services company Schlumberger. Each of these talks tied into the legacy of oil production and processing that lives large in the Texas culture by providing excellent overviews of the techniques used in this industry. More specifically, those that are common in the lab, at the well head, or down with the drill bit to support the oil production process and drive value. The conference was smaller than usual, which was unfortunate, though not unexpected given the comparative paucity of touristic attractions in the area. (Yes, conference participation is still governed as much by local pleasures as it is by scientific content.) However, there was still a good chance to spend time with scientists from many industries— especially those from the oil patch and associated chemical industries. All of these fields face diverse problems, but one common theme is the need to understand and properly characterize mixtures. 

After Houston, my colleagues moved on to PITTCON in Atlanta, where many of the same scientific issues prevailed—namely, intelligent analysis of complex mixtures. The value of various mixtures to our economy can’t be overstated, everything from food and fragrances to oceans and oils are simply chemical mixtures of various complexity. Even for “pure” compounds, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), some of the greatest analytical challenges involve the resolution and identification of impurities that are mixed in. Shedding various insights on those mixtures is increasingly important for those who make use of them in any capacity. The analytical chemistry community is coming forward with great improvements in technology both in hardware and software to address these problems.

At the beginning of this year we took time to work with our mixture analysis tools. There has been growing recognition of the need in this field for some years, and we have continued to expand the reach of our work. Capabilities have long existed across our suite of products to assist analysts in understanding mixtures. However, the expectations are now that we will assist analysts to work more quickly, to have more simple and yet more powerful workflows, to better leverage prior knowledge, and to produce improved visualization and reporting. We’re succeeding in this mission for many different types of analytical processes.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about what’s new with our NMR software for mixture analysis here. If you’re involved in mixture analysis tell us what you believe is missing in the analytical scientists toolbox.

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