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STTR Phase I: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at Low Magnetic Fields
Phone: (305) 439-5955
Phone: (305) 439-5955
Contact: Matthew Rosen
Type: Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will develop a novel method for chemical analysis using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy at moderate and low magnetic field strengths. A major cost and physical limitation of NMR spectroscopy is the high-field magnet typically required. Although high-field instruments face competition from smaller benchtop-sized instruments, now a $120 million segment of the $1.25 billion NMR market, these moderate-field devices have lower performance, high cost, and lack portability. This project will address these challenges by exploring a new method designed to work in weaker, different magnetic fields produced with cheap, light, portable magnets. This will bring down the cost and expand the NMR market in a broader range of applications in petroleum exploration, refining, and chemical manufacturing; and potentially smaller educational institutions such as high schools. The intellectual merit of this project is the development of the physical theory behind a new form of NMR spectroscopy and its testing in moderate-field benchtop spectrometers, as well as in low-field regimes where spectroscopic information is currently impossible to acquire. This is made possible by a recently discovered phenomenon called "spin-lock induced crossing" (SLIC), which measures how the system responds to a small rotating magnetic field rather than a strong static field. One goal will be to expand the theoretical understanding of SLIC in order to predict and analyze the unconventional spectra it produces. Other experimental tasks will include exploring the physical specifications necessary for spectrometers to use the technique, evaluating the method's performance compared to conventional NMR spectroscopy, creating a dictionary of low-field spectra for common chemicals, and developing methods for automatic analysis and interpretation of the spectra. The results will be used to develop software for implementing the method on current benchtop instruments and will also provide a basis for the design and translation of low-field spectrometers based solely on these methods. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *