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Acetonitrile or methyl cyanide is a highly volatile, aprotic polar organic solvent. Acetonitrile is used in analytical chemistry as a solvent or mobile phase. It is also utilized as a solvent in organic reactions such as the synthesis of alkyl hydroperoxides by oxidizing alkane with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of iron complexes.

Acetonitrile is also used in pharmaceuticals for drug synthesis, purification, and formulation. It is particularly useful for drugs that are poorly soluble in water or other common solvents.

Acetonitrile as a solvent in spectroscopy

Acetonitrile is widely used in various spectroscopic techniques, including infrared (IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). It is also used as a solvent in ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, due to its transparency and relatively low UV absorption compared to many other solvents, making it an excellent choice for UV-Vis measurements.

Deuterated acetonitrile (acetonitrile-d3): Acetonitrile-d3 along with or without trimethyl silane is used as a solvent in Infra-red (IR) and NMR spectroscopy and also as a cartridge in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-SPE (solid-phase extraction)-NMR technique.

Acetonitrile as a mobile phase in chromatography

As acetonitrile exhibits low viscosity, high elution strength and compatibility with a wide range of analytes, it is utilized as a mobile phase component in many chromatographic techniques such as HPLC, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), ultra high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and in gas chromatography.

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) grade acetonitrile: Gradient grade acetonitrile or acetonitrile solution containing a specific concentration of trifluoroacetic acid, formic acid, 2-propanol or ammonium formate is used as a mobile phase in HPLC.

Acetonitrile as a reference standard

Acetonitrile is used as a pharmaceutical primary or secondary grade reference standard in alcohol determination and as a residual solvent.

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