Magnetic Resonance Removing the guess work
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is an extremely powerful analytical tool for scientific, medical and materials research. It reveals not only the various elements in a substance, but arguably provides a depiction of molecular structure more accurate than any other method of spectroscopy.
NMR spectroscopy works on the basis of spin, that is, when applying a static magnetic field to a substance, the nuclei of the atoms behave like tiny magnets which resonate at precise frequencies in that field. These particular frequencies become the atomic “fingerprint” for that substance.
NMR spectroscopy is most commonly used for analysing organic compounds – compounds containing hydrogen and carbon. Since carbon combines with many elements to form more compounds than any other element, NMR spectroscopy is extremely versatile and essential tool in a diverse range of cutting-edge research.
Areas such as drug development, polymer synthesis and biomedical research would simply not progress as rapidly without NMR spectroscopy. Pharmaceutical researchers synthesise new compounds all the time, and NMR spectroscopy gives them a complete molecular picture of their newly created substance. Material scientists make new polymers, composites and catalysts, which can then be characterized from their elemental make-up.
More and more fields of science are finding applications for the NMR phenomenon, from quantum computing to medical imaging, known as MRI. It is unparalleled in analytical research and only getting better, with the advent of faster computers and electronics, stronger and more stable magnets and a finer understanding of spin physics.