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Elevating Chemistry Research with a Modern Electronics Toolkit

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journal contribution
posted on 27.07.2020 by Gurpur Rakesh D. Prabhu, Pawel L. Urban
With the rapid development of high technology, chemical science is not as it used to be a century ago. Many chemists acquire and utilize skills that are well beyond the traditional definition of chemistry. The digital age has transformed chemistry laboratories. One aspect of this transformation is the progressing implementation of electronics and computer science in chemistry research. In the past decade, numerous chemistry-oriented studies have benefited from the implementation of electronic modules, including microcontroller boards (MCBs), single-board computers (SBCs), professional grade control and data acquisition systems, as well as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). In particular, MCBs and SBCs provide good value for money. The application areas for electronic modules in chemistry research include construction of simple detection systems based on spectrophotometry and spectrofluorometry principles, customizing laboratory devices for automation of common laboratory practices, control of reaction systems (batch- and flow-based), extraction systems, chromatographic and electrophoretic systems, microfluidic systems (classical and nonclassical), custom-built polymerase chain reaction devices, gas-phase analyte detection systems, chemical robots and drones, construction of FPGA-based imaging systems, and the Internet-of-Chemical-Things. The technology is easy to handle, and many chemists have managed to train themselves in its implementation. The only major obstacle in its implementation is probably one’s imagination.