Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

The primary mission of the Penn State NMR Facility is to make NMR spectroscopy available to students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty of the University and of the surrounding Central Pennsylvania community for the advancement of their research. The Facility, located in the basement of the Chemistry Building, is equipped with ten superconducting NMR spectrometers operating in both liquids and solids mode. The spectrometers range from 7 Tesla (300 MHz 1H frequency) to 20 Tesla (850 MHz 1H frequency). On site Ph.D. and technical staff are ready to facilitate data acquisition; enabling NMR applications for those without advanced training.

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Spectrometers and Capabilities

Carbon DetectionThree high field spectrometers: Bruker AV-III-500, Bruker AV-III-600, Bruker AV-III-850. These spectrometers are housed in the Lloyd Jackman NMR Facility (made possible in part through a gift from Bruker Biospin). All three are equipped with TCI single axis gradient cryoprobes (1H/13C/15N/2H) with enhanced sensitivity for 1H and 13C. These instruments are heavily used for biological NMR 2D and 3D experiments. In particular, most standard spin relaxation experiments have been implemented. All high field spectrometers are available for small molecule experiments scheduled through Dr. Benesi.

Our facility has invested heavily in developing methods for 13C-direct detection on the TCI cryoprobes, enabling high field heteronuclear direct-detection spectroscopy for both (synthetic) small molecules and biomolecules. For help with INADEQUATE or similar spectra, please contact Dr. Benesi. For help with biomolecular 13C-detection, please contact Prof. Showalter.

Zebra FishHigh field solids and imaging

In addition to its primary liquids capability, the AV-III-850 is equipped for static and MAS solid state NMR. In solids mode, the AV-III-850 allows high sensitivity and high resolution observation of many quadrupolar nuclei, making it especially useful for MQMAS and QCPMG experiments. Probes capable of measuring multiple common nuclei, including aluminum, make this instrument ideal for materials research applications.

Finally, the AV-III-850 is equipped with high power amplifiers and high power triple axis pulsed field gradients for imaging and translational diffusion measurements. Ultra-high gradient strengths enable truly unique high-resolution imaging capabilities. The microimaging probe converts to a diffusion probe for liquid state diffusion applications with excellent resolution and slow diffusion (ca. < 1 x 10-14 m2sec-1) capabilities.

Three solid state spectrometers:Tecmag 300, Bruker AV-300, Chemagnetics/Varian Infinity 500. All are equipped for standard solid state NMR experiments such as MAS, CPMAS, CPTOSS, Quadrupolar Echo, etc. Users requiring exotic nucleus capability are encouraged to contact Dr. Benesi.

Four medium field liquid state spectrometers: Two DPX-300's, one AV-360, and one DRX-400. These are equipped for broadband and multinuclear NMR. The DRX-400 has an inverse broadband probe with triple axis gradients that is optimized for gradient enhanced 2D experiments (HMQC, HMBC, DQF-COSY, NOESY). All four spectrometers are available for overnight scheduling to enable 2D and variable temperature research.

Training and Courses

Basic training for experimental liquid state NMR is provided by NMR "superusers" in the student or postdoc's research group. Users gain access to perform their own NMR experiments by passing a short NMR test with the Director or NMR Spectroscopist. Advanced experimental liquid state NMR training (running 2D experiments, multinuclear NMR, etc) is provided in the "Superusers Course" - a non-academic training course offered by the Director every year. Each research group that uses NMR is expected to have at least two trained Superusers. Solid state NMR training is obtained by hands on setup of solid state NMR experiments with the Director or NMR Spectroscopist. Graduate level academic courses in Theoretical NMR and Biological NMR are offered on an alternating ever-other-year schedule by the Director and expert NMR spectroscopists on the faculty.

Selected Recent Publications

The following are five recent publications representative of the NMR spectroscopy conducted at the Penn State Chemistry NMR Facility:

  1. O'Hare, B.; Steinle, R.A.; Black, H.; Kaplan, P.; Grutzeck, M.W.; Benesi, A.J. "Evidence of Solid Water Bridges in Hydrating Tricalcium Silicate Paste" J. Am. Ceramic Soc. 2011, in press.
  2. Wostenberg, C.; Quarles, K.A.; Showalter, S.A. "Dynamic Origins of Differential RNA Binding Function in Two dsRBDs from the miRNA 'Microprocessor' Complex" Biochemistry, 2010, 49, 10728-10736.
  3. Yang, X.R.; Welch, J.L.; Arnold, J.J.; Boehr, D.D. "Long-Range Interaction Networks in the Function and Fidelity of Poliovirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Studied by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance" Biochemistry, 2010, 49, 9361-9371.
  4. Sanders, R.L.; Washton, N.M.; Mueller, K.T. "Measurement of the Reactive Surface Area of Clay Minerals Using Solid-State NMR Studies of a Probe Molecule" J. Phys. Chem. C, 2010, 114, 5491-5498.
  5. O'Hare, B.; Benesi, A.J.; Showalter, S.A. "Incorporating 1H Chemical Shift Determination into 13C-direct Detected Spectroscopy of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins in Solution" J. Magn. Reson., 2009, 200, 354-358.