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When placed in a strong magnetic field, a magnetic nucleus, such as 1H, 13C or 31P, can absorb, then re-emit an electromagnetic radiation provided it matches its the resonance frequency. The resonance frequency is dependent on both the strength of the magnetic field, and the local enviroment of the nucleus. NMR spectroscopy uses this phenomenon (and a lot of quantum mechanics!) for investigating the structure and dynamics of molecules. Although NMR spectroscopy is commonly used to study molecules and proteins in solution, it can also be used to study solids provided the sample is spun at the so-called magic angle (MAS).  Our group has an expertise in solid state NMR spectroscopy (ssNMR) to study biomaterials in their native state.

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NMR instrumentation

Our group uses the departmental 400 MHz wide bore spectrometer in B17, nicknamed 'Glenkinchie'. Glenkinchie is equipped with a Bruker Avance three-channel console, a magic angle spinning (MAS) unit, and can operate at temperatures ranging from -60ºC to 80ºC thanks to the BCU chiller. Three probes are dedicated to this instrument:

  • 4mm double resonance HX probe (MAS up to 15 kHz)
  • 4mm triple resonance HXY probe (MAS up to 15 kHz), that can be used for REDOR experiments
  • 7mm double resonance HX probe (MAS up to 7 kHz)

Fig 1: Glenkinchie, a  400 MHz wide bore NMR spectrometer

We also share the space and collaborate with the Forse group who manages the other 400 MHz wide bore spectrometer in the room, previously known as 'Glenlossie', and subsequently renamed 'Lossie'. Lossie is equipped with an Avance Neo three-chanel console equipped with a MAS III unit, and a BCU chiller. The system can be used with 4mm HX, 4mm HXY, and 2.5mm H/F-X probes.

Our group also has access to a 700 MHz standard bore spectrometer in B14, nicknamed 'Arran'. The higher field and the faster spinning probes of this instrument increases the signal to noise and the resolutio of the spectra obtained with this system. Arran is equipped with a Bruker Avance II three-channel console, a magic angle spinning unit (MAS), and can operate at temperatures ranging from -60ºC to 80ºC. Two probes for solid-state samples can be used with this instrument:

  • 1.3 mm double resonance HX probe (MAS up to 67 kHz), that can be used for proton-detected experiments
  • 3.2 mm triple resonance HCN probe E-free probe (MAS up to 67 kHz), that is particularly adapted to study salty samples.

Fig 2: Arran, a 700 MHz standard NMR bore spectrometer, and its console