How to solve NMR’s sensitivity deficiencies

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  • Published: Jul 13, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Proteomics / MRI Spectroscopy / Raman / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Atomic / Base Peak / X-ray Spectrometry / Infrared Spectroscopy / Chemometrics & Informatics / NMR Knowledge Base

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The ways to overcome the well-documented sensitivity deficiencies of NMR spectroscopy for biomolecules have been discussed in detail in a new review based on a recent workshop where the authors met for a brainstorming session.

Despite many advances in recent years, NMR lags way behind other analytical techniques that are based on optical or electric technology and there are many who reckon that, without further improvements, it will always lag behind these competitors. With this in mind, the practitioners from a number of countries have come up with a list of areas that should be targeted, which they have discussed in detail in Angewandte Chemie International Edition:

  • Optimising samples and pulse sequences
  • Optimising biomolecular NMR probes and coils
  • New coil designs for solution-phase biomolecular NMR spectroscopy
  • Increasing magnetic fields
  • Using spin-alignment strategies

The authors see two main areas where sensitivity enhancements would be beneficial: for stable samples with low sensitivity and for systems that change over time in which transient species could be followed.

"All in all, it is clear that while the mature state of contemporary NMR spectroscopy implies that all the low-lying fruits available to improve this form of spectroscopy may have been harvested, its unparalleled track record also promises valuable new research opportunities to open as new improvements become incorporated into mainstream NMR spectroscopy of biomolecules," they concluded.

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