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The University of Southampton

Solid-state NMR Methodology

Solid-state NMR is a powerful technique that can provide valuable structural and dynamic information at the molecular level, even for systems that lack long-range order and cannot be studied by crystallography. These include many technologically important materials and also important biological systems such as membrane proteins and fibrils.

We are developing novel solid-state NMR approaches for the characterisation of materials that are unsuitable for techniques such as crystallography. 

Our efforts in this areas are focused on:


  1. Enhancing sensitivity through the use of cryogenic magic-angle spinning and paramagnetic relaxation agents. These studies seek to identify novel ways to enhance the sensitivity of solid-state NMR through the use of low temperature measurements. Coupled with research into paramagnetic reagents which can enhance the speed with which measurements can be performed, and potentially provide structural information, we aim to realise a significant enhancement in sensitivity.
  2. 14N solid-state NMR of biomolecules. In nature the most abundant isotope of nitrogen is nitrogen-14. Traditionally however, studies of biomolecules by NMR has relied on nitrogen-15 labelling. This precludes the analysis of biological materials where labelling is not available and results in the loss of a wealth of structural and dynamic data which is present in the nitrogen-14 spectrum. We are currently developing a range of techniques that permit the analysis of nitrogen sites within biomolecules, environmental samples and pharmaceuticals where previously labelling would have been viewed as a pre-requisite.
  3. The solid-state NMR of superconducting materials, such as fullerides.
  4. The solid-state NMR of materials exhibiting quantum rotor behaviour at low temperatures, such as small-molecule endofullerenes and related systems.
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