Professors Albert Stiegman and Geoffrey Strouse of the FSU Department of Chemistry, in collaboration with Professor Greg Dudley of West Virginia University, directly measured the temperature of agglomerates of polar molecules in a solution. The experiments were carried out using Raman spectroscopy and constitute the first direct measurement of the temperature of molecules heated by microwave radiation. Under dynamic microwave heating, a significant temperature difference of over 100 °C was observed between the polar p-nitroanisole solute and the non-polar mesitylene solvent. If a solution contains chemical reactants, the ability to attain such high temperatures using microwaves means that the chemical reaction will occur very rapidly. Such reaction rate enhancement can have significant ramifications for organic synthesis.
These results were recently published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. Check it out here.