Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy now standard in chemistry laboratories, is also fast becoming part of the technologic repertoire of biochemists, geologists, materials scientists, and even food scientists and farmers. In the early years of this analytical tool, its applications were largely confined to the physical sciences. Now, however, several major advances have fine-tuned and, at the same time, expanded the capabilities of NMR, so that today the technology is proving valuable in a wider range of scientific disciplines, from the purely academic to the highly practical. For example, NMR spectroscopy can be used to reveal structural information on such diverse substances as volcanic glass, soil, drugs proteins, polymers, chocolate, cookies, and explosives.

NMR Basics

The technology, developed in 1946, was introduced commercially by Varian Associates of Palo Alto, Calif., in 1953. The technique is based on the fact that several common elements, including 1H, 13C, 31P 29 and Si, have...

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