2012 R&D 100 Winner
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry, an important analytical technique in organic chemistry, provides detailed information on molecular structure and dynamics. Liquid samples are placed in magnetic fields that slightly polarize each proton in the sample. Pulsed radio-frequency magnetic fields then generate a spectrum for analysis. The picoSpin-45 NMR spectrometer from picoSpin LLC (Boulder, Colo.), uses the same methodology as other NMR instruments, but is highly miniaturized, weighing 80 times less than any previous NMR spectrometer.
The picoSpin-45 is based on a 1.1-Tesla permanent magnet assembly of picoSpin's own design. Just 6 cm in diameter and 5 cm in length, the assembly has proprietary mechanical features that permit cost-effective manufacture and high field uniformity. The heart of the spectrometer is a tiny solenoid, 0.4 mm in diameter, which surrounds the active sample volume. The resolution of an NMR spectrometer depends upon the uniformity of the magnetic field over the sample volume. By making the sample very small, the uniform field region also becomes very small, and the entire magnet assembly can be miniaturized.
As a result of this design, the picoSpin-45 is 70 times smaller than other commercial products, but can still collect high-resolution proton NMR spectra that reveal both chemical shifts and multiplet structure.
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer
The picoSpin-45 NMR Spectrometer Development Team from picoSpin LLC
John C. Price, Principal Developer