Columns, Columns, Columns!!

During the second week of research, I realized what it meant to work in a synthesis lab. The realization came with my first column.


Running a column is similar to baking a triple layer cake. It must be done with love, care, and plenty of thought.  So first goes the sand/ glass wool layer. On top of that rests the silica gel layer, and then the small sand layer. On that, I carefully pour my solution to be filter out any impurities, and hope for clear separation of colorful bands.  Disasters happen. The silica layer cracks from the air in the column. The sand layer was disrupted while pouring my solution from the top. The sand layer was clogged by gooey substance that should not be in my solution, but just so happens to be there. Clearly, the perfect column requires much more than instruction. Mastering it requires patience and countless attempts,

I struggled through my first column during the second step of synthesizing RBS2. In this reaction, I added RB-H to Lawesson’s Reagent and dry toluene,  and refluxed for a day. After the extensive reflux period, I ran it through a column and dried the liquid to obtain T-RB-H. The question of purity of my T-RB-H still remained.