Artist’s Dye Fading Part 2: Jun 16th – Jun 30th

The new thing that I learned since the last post is that science is frustrating. As I continued with the solvatochromism studies it occured to me that I needed to carry out control experiments on the solvents that I was using. This led me to realize that some of the data that I was seeing was actually an artifact of the fluorimeter that I was using. Apparently there is a small amount of light that scatters off the solvent and gives rise to an emission peak which I had previously assumed was a result of Alizarin fluorescing. Fortunately by this point we had only made preliminary hypotheses based on the false data and any major disaster was avoided. This doesn’t change the fact that it is a pain in my butt. Although I think that the fluorimeter is stupid and that I shouldnt have to deal with this, I have learned a valuable lesson to always do control experiments.

Apart from that mix up the grind continues to charactarize the behavior of Alizarin in different solvents. By this point I have probably done around 1 million uv vis and fluorescence scans on Alizarin alone (I havent even gotten around to Purpurin or Purpurin Lake yet!). This molecule manages to be simultaneously fascinating and frustrating at the same time. Its complex behavior is really cool but also makes a definitive conclusion very elusive. In addition to emission peaks shifting around and changing shape in various solvents, they also change based on the wavelength of light that you hit it with adding another dimension of complexity to it. From here I will continue to run tests under different conditions but there does need to be a cutoff point. This data was originally only supposed to be supplementary and the end goal needs to be kept in mind.