Sara collected these colorful solutions in test tubes as they flowed from a silica gel column, which is used to separate chemical mixtures. She was looking for a specific product of a nucleophilic substitution reaction between a dianhydride and a diamine. When chemists run the products of a reaction through a silica column, molecules exit the column at different times, depending on their polarity, allowing for isolation of the desired products. Because her reaction produced strongly colored compounds, Sheykhi could tell which test tubes held different reaction products with the naked eye.
The picture was featured in the Chemical & Engineering News (c&en) magazine, issued in June 2020.
Congratulations to Sara!