American Chemical Society
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Enabling Microscale Processing: Combined Raman and Absorbance Spectroscopy for Microfluidic On-Line Monitoring

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-12-18, 18:07 authored by Gilbert L. Nelson, Hope E. Lackey, Job M. Bello, Heather M. Felmy, Hannah B. Bryan, Fabrice Lamadie, Samuel A. Bryan, Amanda M. Lines
Microfluidics have many potential applications including characterization of chemical processes on a reduced scale, spanning the study of reaction kinetics using on-chip liquid–liquid extractions, sample pretreatment to simplify off-chip analysis, and for portable spectroscopic analyses. The use of in situ characterization of process streams from laboratory-scale and microscale experiments on the same chemical system can provide comprehensive understanding and in-depth analysis of any similarities or differences between process conditions at different scales. A well-characterized extraction of Nd­(NO3)3 from an aqueous phase of varying NO3 (aq) concentration with tributyl phosphate (TBP) in dodecane was the focus of this microscale study and was compared to an earlier laboratory-scale study utilizing counter current extraction equipment. Here, we verify that this same extraction process can be followed on the microscale using spectroscopic methods adapted for microfluidic measurement. Concentration of Nd (based on UV–vis) and nitrate (based on Raman) was chemometrically measured during the flow experiment, and resulting data were used to determine the distribution ratio for Nd. Extraction distributions measured on the microscale were compared favorably with those determined on the laboratory scale in the earlier study. Both micro-Raman and micro-UV–vis spectroscopy can be used to determine fundamental parameters with significantly reduced sample size as compared to traditional laboratory-scale approaches. This leads naturally to time, cost, and waste reductions.