The Georgia Tech NMR Center, a campus-wide multiuser facility, will hold an open house on Friday of Homecoming Week, Oct. 28, 2016. Everyone is invited, especially visiting alumni, to view the latest additions to the center’s suite of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers.
NMR spectrometry is a powerful analytical tool, providing information such as molecular structure and dynamics. Advances in instrumentation have enabled NMR spectrometry to move into solid-state and solution applications. Lately, NMR has been used increasingly in high-throughput screening for drug discovery and related uses.
Analysis by NMR is based on the interaction of certain atomic nuclei with an external magnetic field. The higher the frequency of this external magnetic field, the greater the sensitivity of the instrument, and the richer the information one can get from NMR analysis
In July 2016, the Georgia Tech NMR Center installed two Bruker Avance instruments, one with a 700-MHz, and the other with an 800-MHz, magnet. These are among the highest-field-strength-magnets currently available in the market.
“The recent investment of more than $5 million in new solid-state and solution capabilities enables advanced studies encompassing the imaging of small objects, the atomic level structure and dynamics of ceramics, small molecules of relevance to biology and materials science, synthetic polymers and biological macromolecules,” says Angus P. Wilkinson, a chemistry professor and associate chair for operations and undergraduate programs in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
“Georgia Tech’s investment in this scientific equipment not only will make our experiments more successful and our research more grandiose,” says Julia Kubanek, a professor of biological sciences and the associate dean for research in the College of Sciences. “They have already been effectively used to recruit new faculty to Georgia Tech,” she adds.
NMR instruments use superconducting magnet technology, cooling the magnet to extremely low temperature, 4 K, with the help of liquid helium. “In addition to our working instruments, a sectioned magnet will be available for inspection so that visitors can gain an appreciation of the internal construction of these very expensive magnets,” Wilkinson says. Also on display will be the newly installed helium recovery plant, which takes helium as it boils off from the magnets and condenses it to liquid helium at 4 K. Given the shortage of helium worldwide, “this system helps conserve a nonrenewable and very expensive resource,” Wilkinson says.
Leslie Gelbaum, the center’s manager and a principal research scientist in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will be on hand to answer questions and consult on scientific problems relating to biological and non-biological molecules in solution.
Johannes Leisen, the center’s assistant director and also a principal research scientist in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will be available to answer questions and consult on problems that relate to studies of solid samples and imaging.