Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

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Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is a spectroscopic technique to observe local magnetic fields around atomic nuclei. The sample is placed in a magnetic field and the NMR signal is produced by excitation of the nuclei sample with radio waves into nuclear magnetic resonance. The intramolecular magnetic field around an atom in a molecule changes the resonance frequency, giving details of the electronic structure of a molecule and its individual functional groups.

As the fields are highly characteristic to individual compounds, in modern organic chemistry, NMR spectroscopy is the definitive method to identify monomolecular organic compounds, proteins and other complex molecules.

NMR spectroscopy also provides detailed information about the structure, dynamics, reaction state, and chemical environment of molecules.  The most common types of NMR are proton and carbon-13 NMR spectroscopy, but it is applicable samples with nuclei spin.  Solid Sate NMR is a variant of solution-based NMR where the sample can be a crystalline or powder material.

ICAM equipment includes:

  • Bruker 200 and 600 MHz at Imperial College London dedicated to solid state applications.
  • Varian UI 300 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for solid-state NMR experiments.
  • Varian VXR 500 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with variable temperature capability dependent upon the probe.
  • Varian Inova 400MHZ and 300 MHz spectrometers at The University of Manchester. A wide range of experiments may be performed, particularly on the 400MHz model.

The Magnetic Resonance Research Centre (MRRC) at the University of Cambridge is researching applications which include catalysis, contaminant hydrology, structure-processing relationships in materials and multi-phase flow in porous materials.

The MRRC houses a range of hardware including four high-field Bruker spectrometers: AV400 WB, DMX 300 WB, DMX 200 SWB and AV85 30cm bore.  These provide micro-imaging and flow imaging, as well as pulsed field gradient measurements of diffusion, rheo-NMR, and solid state NMR spectroscopy including variable temperature Magic Angle Spinning (MAS).


Advanced materials research covers a spectrum of academic fields and disciplines. The scientific publications authored by our researchers showcase some of the ground-breaking work taking place across the ICAM partnership.

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