Posted on 26 March 2015
Prof. Simon Duckett and Dr. Meghan Halse (Chemistry, York) in collaboration with Dr. Alison Nordon (University of Strathclyde) have been awarded £779k by the EPSRC for a three year project entitled “A paradigm shift in low-field NMR spectroscopy for industrial process monitoring, control, and optimisation”. (EP/M020983/1, £779,745)
Monitoring complex chemical reactions in an industrial setting is a significant challenge because the most informative method, high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, is very expensive and hard to deploy. NMR spectroscopy provides data that is rich in both chemical and structural information and is amenable to the study of reactions in solution. However, as well as being costly, NMR is typically limited to the examination of species in millimolar concentrations and with lifetimes of minutes. This project seeks to challenge this view and establish a new route to acquiring low-cost NMR data for the study of chemical transformations in real time at the point of use by exploiting the cost-effectiveness and relative simplicity of low-field (1 T) NMR instrumentation (Fig. 1) combined with the sensitivity gain provided by parahydrogen-based NMR hyperpolarisation techniques, such as the SABRE (Signal Amplification By Reversible Exchange) method introduced by Prof. Duckett and co-workers in 2009 (Fig. 2).
This project is a collaboration between Prof. Duckett and Dr. Halse (Centre for Hyperpolarisation, University of York) and Dr. Nordon (Centre for Process Analytics and Control Technology, University of Stathclyde) and includes support from industrial partners including the Centre for Process Innovation Ltd., Domino UK Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer.
Fig. 1. 1H NMR spectrum of 200 mM ibuprofen in CDCl3 acquired at 1T (42 MHz) on a Magritek Spinsolve benchtop spectrometer. (Image courtesy of Magritek Ltd.)
Fig. 2 The interatction of parahydrogen and a substrate while weakly bound to a transition metal leads to strong hyperpolarisation of the substrate.