Nuclear magnetic resonance

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 7 Aug 2021

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a powerful technique which allows the study of the magnetic properties of an atom's nucleus 1. It involves placing nuclei within an external magnetic field enabling thus them to undergo precession 2. The 'resonance' part of the names implies the fact that a second (usually perpendicular) radiofrequency pulse tuned to the precessional frequency of target nuclei allows them to absorb and then emit electromagnetic energy 2.

Nuclear magnetic resonance is exploited in a number disciplines and fields, including magnetic resonance imaging, molecular physics and chemistry 1.  An offshoot of this technique, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy allows precise analysis of molecular constitution of a chemical microenvironment 1.

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