Magnetic Resonance methods developments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Chemistry


Magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy encompasses some of the most powerful spectroscopic techniques: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and in vivo Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). These techniques are among the most versatile tools available to scientists for chemical, biological, material, and medical research, and for healthcare technologies. NMR spectroscopy gives access to information about the structure and dynamics of molecules containing magnetically active nuclei such as hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and fluorine. ESR spectroscopy, on the other hand, uses magnetic properties of free electrons to identify metal complexes and organic radicals. Research aims: to improve the amount, the quality and the accessibility of information we can get with magnetic resonance techniques. The project consists of two parts: 1) i. Design and development of efficient electromagnetic pulses (radiofrequency and microwave). EPR spectroscopy, in particular, will greatly benefit from these techniques, given the increasing demand for broadband multi-pulse experiments and the advent of arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) for modern EPR instruments, which allows the development of so-called "shaped-pulses" in EPR in the past 10 years, although, they have been known and used in NMR for 40 years. Shaped pulses overcome some of the hardware limits, making new experiments possible and can drastically improve current experiments. 2) ii. Building a diamond NMR/ESR spectrometer which uses properties of defects in diamond (nitrogen-vacancy centre) as super-sensitive quantum sensors. Current magnetic resonance spectrometers are very insensitive when compared to other characterisation techniques such as mass spectrometry. This project aims at performing magnetic resonance spectroscopy on very small samples with high spectral/spatial resolutions. Examples of the potential applications of this project include work detection of nuclear magnetic resonance from a single protein or magnetic resonance imaging of a single cell. These quantum sensors effectively allow making one the most sensitive magnetic resonance spectrometers with much less cumbersome setup. Additionally, these spectrometers do not rely on cryogens. The development of this technique is still at the early stages and currently, very few research groups are active in this field. This device will be one of the first diamond NMR/ESR spectrometers the UK. These are areas of research at the interface of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering science, and hold promise to offer a new degree of freedom for designing novel techniques to tackle challenging problems in chemistry. The multidisciplinary nature of the project makes it perfectly compatible with several EPSRC research areas. This project falls within the EPSRC Physical sciences (Analytical science, Quantum optics and information), and Quantum technologies research areas.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513295/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2331749 Studentship EP/R513295/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2022 Jean-Baptiste Benoit Verstraete