Tag: NMR

Pique the Geek 20120205: Carbon NMR Spectrometry

NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectrometry is one of the big guns in organic chemistry and biochemistry for determining how atoms are strung together in molecules.  There are many different kinds, but the two of greatest utility to chemists are proton NMR and carbon-13 NMR.  A friend of mine asked me for some help for his daughter who is studying the subject in Organic Chemistry right now, so I thought that I might as well use it as a topic for this series.

Before we get deep into the subject, note that some authors refer to NMR spectrometry and others to NMR spectroscopy.  I prefer the former term because the connotation of spectroscopy, to me at least, has to do with lenses, prisms, and diffraction gratings, making it an optical method.  There are no analogous devices in NMR, so I prefer spectrometry.

All NMR has some features in common, so we might as well cover the basics first.  By the way, this has nothing to do with nuclear energy, and the only radiation present is in the radiofrequency range, so it will not fry you.

This is heavily connected with quantum mechanics, but I shall try to use analogies that are more easily visualized than a bunch of equations.  I do not intend for this to be a graduate level abstract.