Issue Date: June 11, 2007
Solid-state NMRgets more sensitive
By redesigning the detector coil assembly, researchers in France have boosted the sensitivity of solid-state NMR spectroscopy and enhanced the ability to analyze nanoliter- to picoliter-volume samples (Nature 2007, 447, 694). Various approaches have been developed to improve the sensitivity of solution NMR, including miniaturizing the detector coils that surround samples and collect NMR signals. The sensitivity of solid-state NMR has lagged behind that of solution NMR, but Dimitrios Sakellariou and coworkers at the French Atomic Energy Commission, in Saclay, now have found a way to address this disparity. They redesigned the coil assembly to include both the large coil used in conventional NMR and a new small coil that rotates along with the spinning sample. The small coil picks up sample signals and communicates them to the large coil by magnetic induction. In addition to being more sensitive, the technique "opens up new opportunities simply by reducing the amount of material required," Arthur S. Edison and Joanna R. Long of the University of Florida write in a commentary.
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