School of Chemistry NMR
The School of Chemistry was awarded almost £0.9M in the 2012/3 EPSRC 'Core Capability for Chemistry Research' initiative to improve its research support infrastructure in the field of NMR Spectroscopy.
We have now commissioned two new spectrometers, at 400 and 500 MHz, both of which are now in full use, and are also upgrading the Radiochemistry 400 MHz instrument.
The big advance with the new instruments is that they are fitted with multinuclear, liquid nitrogen-cooled cryoprobes, the first such instruments for the School NMR service. The overriding drawback with NMR is that the nuclear signals are so weak. This makes obtaining sufficient signal-to-noise ratio a problem, particularly for weakly magnetic and dilute nuclei such as carbon-13. Cryoprobes combat this problem by reducing the temperature of the radiofrequency coils and electronics, reducing the random noise they generate and so making the NMR signals easier to detect.
The result is that the new instruments are much more sensitive, speeding up data acquisition greatly, for a wide range of nuclei, and reducing detection limits. For the moment the new 500 MHz spectrometer will be run by NMR service staff, in order to maximise performance; the 400 MHz instrument is available for full time open access, running a full range of experiments on demand, except for a brief period each week when the cryogens are replenished.