NMR

NUCLEAR MAGNETIC RESONANCE

My graduate work focuses on utilizing a spectroscopic technique called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. It's basically a simple version of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), just like the scans you can get in the hospital, only rather than looking at images I obtain and study spectra that look like this and this

NMR is a very powerful method to characterize different chemicals but is also a powerful tool to understand chemical dynamics. As an example, I could take a tube of water and put salt in it and then track how quickly the sodium atoms (Na+) are moving around in the solution (diffusion). I could also calculate exact concentration, its phase (say there were some salt sitting in the bottom of the tube in solid form), and then if it were reacting with something else in the solution, I could quantify the kinetics of the reaction. This is just a taste of the capabilities of NMR.

Probably the most prevalent use of NMR is for chemical characterization (identification, structure confirmation) by dissolving the chemical of interest in some sort of liquid. While I also do this kind of NMR, I'm currently specializing in NMR of solids and gases--a slightly more complicated set of experiments. For gases, I'm doing really high pressure experiments, up to 200atm of pressure and up to 250°C on various gases, including explosive ones.


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