Home: CH224

Finding a method of synthesis

Using Reaxys

Using SciFinder

Chemistry Research Guide

Using SciFinder for the Organic Chemistry Lab Literature Searching Assignment

About SciFinder

SciFinder is an incredibly robust chemistry database that could be used to complete most or all of the organic chemistry lab assignment. It is vital to professional chemistry researchers and any students planning further chemistry studies should learn to use it. It's very helpful for locating information on substances, articles about any chemistry topic, structures, and reactions.

Access to SciFinder

Scifinder is available through the NCSU Libraries. You must create an individual account before accessing the database.

Using SciFinder

For the literaure search assignment, you don't need to learn everything there is to know about SciFinder. There are essentially three search options available through the navigation on the left side of the screen:

  1. References – Search for literature by topic.
  2. Substances – Get information on a specific chemical.
  3. Explore Reactions – Search for reaction information.

Physical Properties, Spectra, and Cost

Under Substances, click on Substance Identifier. The CAS number uniquely identifies a substance and is the most concise search. Common names often work, but may not be as precise.

  • Click on the CAS number for a result to see detailed results.
  • To find refractive index, look under Experimental Properties -> Optical and Scattering.
  • If the spectrum you need is not included in SciFinder, get the full text of the referenced article (see Notes) to obtain the spectrum.
  • Click on Get Commercial Sources to find cost information. Tip: Use the Analyze option on the left to limit results by the quantity you need.

Hazardous Properties

There is no specific tool to find this information in SciFinder, and other sources are better places to start. However, you can find information about hazardous properties by searching through journal literature. Use the Research Topic option and search by topic (e.g., hazardous properties of benzene). Click on Get Full Text to access the articles.

Method of Synthesis/Preparation

Click on Substance Identifier and search by CAS number or other identifier. Select a result, then click on Get Reactions to find a method of synthesis. Limit results by reaction role "product." Check the reaction diagram and article abstract (click on the citation title) to be sure the method of synthesis is clear.

SciFinder reaction detail

Tip: Articles are displayed in reverse chronological order. Since the lab assignment doesn't require a specific synthesis method (e.g., a current method or one involving a particular reagent), it can be helpful to look at older articles first. Older articles may describe the method in a more straightforward manner. Sort by Publication Year and click on the arrow to put older results at the top of the list.

Tip: Although the article matches your search, the synthesis method described may not be clear or may be for a more general class of chemicals. Under References, click on the title to see the reference details. You will see bibliographic information (title, authors, etc.), an abstract, and indexing terms. Under Substances, find your chemical and check to make sure it is annotated by the words Preparation, Synthetic Preparation, or something similar, to indicate it is synthesized. Click on Get Full Text to access the articles.

SciFinder indexing

Librarian Contact Information

If you need assistance, use the library's Ask Us service or contact your chemistry librarian:

  • Karen Ciccone, Director Natural Resources Library & Research Librarian for Science Informatics
  • 515-3513