DTU Chemistry - NMR Center DTU

The magnetic Field at NMR Center • DTU attracts Researchers

Monday 26 Jun 17


Charlotte Held Gotfredsen
Associated Professor
DTU Chemistry
+45 45 25 21 48


..is now entering into its next phase where the large potential of NMR spectroscopy will be explored and exploited in collaboration with researchers across DTU and beyond. Many new projects are being initiated with academic partners as well as partners from industry. There are already many new users at the center exploring how their projects can benefit from the use of NMR as a key analytical tool that allows the detection and tracking of molecules. Many of these projects require close interaction with collaborators and call for method developments and implementation of new NMR techniques to solve the challenges. The NMR Center • DTU is not only a Center with large and expensive equipment but also functions as a “Hub of Knowledge” which will be explored and used in the diverse range of projects that the Center engages in. 
Magnetic fields are attractive. That is old news. But only a special magnetic field can attract international researchers and companies. Such a magnetic field has been installed at DTU Chemistry.

The inauguration of the NMR Center • DTU on December 13th 2016 attracted a broad audience of both academic and industrial researchers and collaborators. In connection with the inauguration, a scientific symposium was held. Here, international speakers illustrated the diversity and opportunities that high field NMR spectroscopy has to offer in many research projects. 

NMR spectrometers present in the NMR Center • DTU hosted by DTU Chemistry are state of the art and enable DTU to be at the forefront of research in this area. NMR spectroscopy is a versatile analytical technique that is employed in countless applications across several scientific fields such as chemistry, biology, physics, food science, materials science and medicine. Within chemistry and biology, NMR spectroscopy is primarily utilized in structural and functional studies of molecules, of synthetic or natural origin. 

Solving the structure of a molecule is much like solving a 3D puzzle, except that one does not know the final solution. 

Research targets include identifying biological active molecules, their functions and biosynthesis, structural studies of large carbohydrate molecules and their interactions with receptors or degradation and the molecular pathways in biomass degradation by chemical or biological catalysis. 

Strengthening NMR spectroscopy was identified as a strategic initiative by DTU’s Board of Governors in 2010 with the aim of supporting all of DTU. In 2014, DTU Chemistry received a DKK 16 million grant by Villum Fonden for establishing an infrastructure with state of the art NMR spectrometers. This grant resulted in the acquisition of two new NMR systems and an upgrade of a third spectrometer, generously donated by Carlsberg. These three instruments now reside in their own building at DTU Chemistry, the newly constructed building 212. 

Almost one million fold stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field 
The superconducting magnet is the heart of the NMR spectrometer, which provides a stable magnetic field almost one million fold stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. When placed in this field, molecules act as small antennae and emit radiowaves with frequencies depending on the physical and chemical properties of the individual atoms in the molecule. Analysis and interpretation of the radiowave signal can then help to elucidate the exact structure of the molecule. 

Increasing the magnetic field both increases the signal strength and facilitates the distinction of different frequencies. These improvements with increasing magnetic field are essential when dealing with large molecules and complex mixtures. 

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