Applications of NMR

A brief introduction to NMR Spectroscopy

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy is a non-destructive analytical technique that is used to probe the nature and characteristics of molecular structure. A simple NMR experiment produces information in the form of a spectrum, which is able to provide details about:

  • The types of atoms present in the sample
  • The relative amounts of atoms present in a sample
  • The specific environments of atoms within a molecule
  • The purity and composition of a sample
  • Structural information about a molecule, including constitutional and conformational isomerisation

There are a number of important characteristics of NMR spectroscopy which makes it favourable to a wide array of industrial, commercial and research applications:

  • There are many nuclei which are NMR active. Some of the more common NMR active nuclei include 1H, 2H, 13C, 11B, 15N, 19F, 31P and 195Pt.
  • NMR spectroscopy is generally a non-destructive technique, meaning that samples can be recovered.
  • Only a small quantity of material is required for analysis; sample sizes of 5-20mg are generally sufficient for most NMR experiments.
  • Sample preparation is simple and minimal. Typically, samples are simply dissolved in an appropriate solvent.

Applications of NMR Spectroscopy

NMR Spectroscopy is a technique used by most modern chemical laboratories. It has applications in a wide range of disciplines, and development of new applied methods for NMR is an active area of research. Methods in NMR spectroscopy have particular relevance to the following disciplines:

  • Chemical research and development: organic, inorganic and physical chemistry
  • Chemical manufacturing industry
  • Biological and biochemical research
  • Food industry
  • Pharmaceutical development and production
  • Agrochemical development and production
  • Polymer industry

Common applications of NMR Spectroscopy include:

  • Structure elucidation
  • Chemical composition determination
  • Formulations investigation
  • Raw materials fingerprinting
  • Mixture analysis
  • Sample purity determination
  • Quality assurance and control
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Compound identification and confirmation
  • Analysis of inter- and intramolecular exchange processes
  • Molecular characterisation
  • Reaction kinetics examination
  • Reaction mechanism investigation