New funding means acquisition of State-of-the-art Solid-State NMR Instrumentation

Enabling Characterization of Nanoparticles, Catalysts, Other Novel Materials, and Biochemical Systems

By Charlie Fry
Director of Dir NMR Lab – CIC

NMR Instrumentation
NMR Instrumentation

UW–Madison ranks as a premiere institution in the world for research support involving nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, but nearly all of UW–Madison’s capabilities are directed at liquid samples. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) can analyze materials in solid or semi-solid states, which requires different technology and instrumentation from conventional NMR that uses liquid.

The Department of Chemistry, led by Prof. Ive Hermans and Drs. Charlie Fry and Lingchao Zhu, won highly competitive UW2020 funding to gain state-of-the-art SSNMR capabilities.

The new instrumentation will support nanoparticle, catalysis, and other critical materials research areas, paving the way for many important measurements. An example is the straightforward identification of surface coverage of functionalized nanoparticles. Nanoparticle research is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Department of Chemistry and about campus. The determination of surface coverage, assessing chemical functionalization, defining interactions with proteins and lipids, and measuring surface dynamics are fundamentally important to this very competitive research area.

The new research opened up by this acquisition promise to impact many areas, from medical treatments of cancer and other diseases, to catalysis, electrochemistry, fuel cells and advanced batteries, medical diagnostics, and more. The SSNMR will also enhance the training of graduate and post-doctural students in Chemistry.

Our new capabilities include:

Doty 4mm 1H/X/Y DSI MAS probe: This unique probe combines relatively large sample volume for best sensitivity, and the ability to tune to all magnetically active
nuclei. It can acquire both traditional cross-polarization magicangle-spinning (CP/MAS) and high-resolution magic-angle (HRMAS) spectra, making it unique in being able to work with solid as well as semi-solid, gel and liquids materials. It has a very highperformance magic-angle gradient, for HR-MAS and diffusivity measurements on high molecular weight compounds.

Phoenix 1.2mm 1H/X/Y MAS probe: The smaller diameter sample volume enables fast magic-angle spinning. This probe will allow 1H-detected X (e.g., 13C, 31P, 51V, 14N, 39K, 109Ag) spectra to be acquired. This will enhance sensitivity enormously, and enables much improved access to resolved 1H information in the solid-state.