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History of Analytical Chemistry at Purdue

For over seventy years, Purdue University’s Division of Analytical Chemistry, in the Department of Chemistry, has been recognized as an innovative and evolutionary international leader. This stellar program, currently ranked number two in the country by U.S. News and World Report, has consistently earned the number one or two position in the country for nearly three decades. This prominence is unparalleled, and is rooted in countless new discoveries and patents in the development of advanced instrumentation that has benefited healthcare, pharmaceutical, chemical, manufacturing, and many more industries worldwide.

Several of the program’s renowned faculty and students, including Fred Lytle, Fred Regnier, Jon Amy, Harry Pardue, and R. Graham Cooks (faculty and emeritus faculty), and former students John Walters, and Joel Harris, have won the American Chemical Society’s Analytical Division Award in Chemical Instrumentation.  In 2007 this highly prestigious award was awarded to faculty member, Scott McLuckey.  Our graduates have gone on to achieve their own greatness.  As evinced from the testimonials on our website, our students contribute their success to Purdue’s unique environment, collegial faculty, excellence in academics, and unwavering commitment to their success – a foundation that is unbeatable.

This unique environment is reflected throughout the Division of Analytical Chemistry as well as the entire department. The continuing philosophy within Purdue Chemistry has deep roots in collaboration and collegiality, internal and external partnerships, and in a firm commitment to combine knowledge and expertise to come together for the good and benefit of all, rather than just of one.

It is no wonder that for 75 years, the Purdue University Department of Chemistry’s Division of Analytical Chemistry has consistently been recognized as an international leader, as a hotbed of novel design and implementation of advanced instrumentation, and as an exceptional educator in preparing the next generation of innovators!

History of Purdue’s Many Contributions to the Evolution of Advanced Instrumentation

The following table highlights only a few of the many ways in which Purdue’s Analytical Chemistry program has taken a leadership role in contributions that led to the design and implementation of novel advanced instrumentation. Because many of these innovations involved new and novel techniques, or significantly increased performance of established techniques, we also gave "short courses." We invited the public to come to us, often with their samples, for intense study to understand and apply the techniques. This sharing of technology earned Purdue a reputation as an outstanding place to do instrument development with both instrument manufacturers and funding agencies.

**Note: The companies listed are the original companies (and their names) at the time of technology innovation.



Purdue Personnel


1934 Recording spectrophotometer Mellon General Electric
1948 Cary 10-11 spectrophotometer Mellon Cary
1954 Prism-grating IR Edgell, Amy Perkin Elmer
1958 Gas chromatograph Amy, Baitinger Wilkens
1959 HR-60 NMR Muller  
1960 Prep scale gas chromatograph Amy, Baitinger Fisher
1960 Concentration comparator Pardue Sargent
1963 Automated glucose detector Pardue Miles Labs
1966 M-66 mass spectrometer McLafferty Varian
1966-70 RMH-2 mass spectrometer McLafferty, Beynon, Amy, Baitinger, Cooks Hitachi-Perkin Elmer
1970-74 Array UV-VIS spectrometer Pardue Hewlett-Packard, Tektronix, Waters, Perkin Elmer
1969-75 MIKES mass spectrometer Byenon, Cooks, Amy, Baitinger AEI
1968-75 ESCA Amy, Baitinger, Winograd Hewlett Packard
1966-75 Specialized lab computers Perone, Rogers Hewlett Packard
1970-76 XL-100 NMR Santini, Grutzner Varian
1970-78 Array detectors Pardue, Santini Hewlett Packard
1975-79 High field NMR Santini, Markley, Grutzner Nicolet
1974 Nanosecond PMTs Lytle RCA
1976 Synchronously pumped dye laser Lytle Spectra Physics
1976 LCEC Kissinger BAS
1978-83 Specialized laboratory spectrometry Cooks, Amy, Baitinger Finnigan
1980 Tandem mass spectrometry Cooks, Amy, Baitinger Finnigan
1981 FT-ICR Freiser Nicolet
1983 Specialized robotics Fuchs, Kramer Zymark
1984 Ion traps Cooks, Amy, Baitinger Finnigan
1990 Stopped-flow and pulsed flow spectrophotometers Margerum  
1991-94 Fieldable automated air sampler Shepson Hewlett Packard
1994-96 Fieldable PAN measurement Shepson  
1994-1999 ITSIM program Cooks Finnigan
1997 Cylindrical ion trap (CIT) Cooks  
1997 QoqoQ Cooks  
2000-01 Miniature mass spectrometer (CIT based) Cooks Griffin Analytical Technology
2001 GPS controlled airborne environmental sampling Shepson  
2001 PTR source for MS McLuckey, Shepson Nicolet
2000 Flowing afterglow MS Squires, Kenttamaa Nicolet, Extrel, Finnigan
2000-01 Multiple coild NMR probes Raftery Matrix NMR
2001-2007 Many new technologies (see “current” just below)    

Since 2000, Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke has further capitalized on the strengths of Purdue’s Chemistry Department with the establishment of Discovery Park. Discovery Park is a brand new center involving nanotechnology, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, collaborative science and engineering, and much more. Its goal is to seamlessly allow researchers to come together across campus to create bold, innovative new discoveries. It grants space and cutting-edge equipment in Discovery Park as a result, to further enhance collaboration, with the goal of technology commercialization in Purdue Research Park. Purdue Research Park has recently been named as the top university-affiliated research park in the nation, boasting over 100 incubator companies as a result of Purdue University leadership and innovation.

Purdue Chemistry is no stranger to Discovery Park. Many or our scientists are involved, including Philip Low, Graham Cooks, Dan Raftery, and Fred Regnier. All are involved in the creation of new companies within Discovery Park, in areas of advanced instrumentation and drug discovery and development. It is a very exciting time for Purdue Chemistry, as well as for Purdue University.

Our faculty members and students have been involved in Purdue Discovery Park and entrepreneurship. Companies founded by our division include BioVidria, Tymora Analytical Operations, Prosolia, BASi, PURSPEC. Our intellectual properties are licensed by Formulatrix Inc., JOEL USA Inc., Siemens, ThermoFisher Scientific, FLIR systems, and Waters Corporation.

Company logos

Companies that have licenses with the Purdue Research Foundation based on Analytical Chemistry IP.

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Mass Spectrometry