Drug discovery is a multi-billion dollar industry and chemists play an integral role in many points on the drug discovery roadmap. In the midst of that discovery, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is one of the top analytical methods, and one of the most useful, in modern chemistry.

Throughout it’s history, NMR has been an important method of analysis for chemists. Felix Bloch and Edward Mills Purcell first demonstrated NMR in 1946. They shared the Nobel Prize for their work in 1952. Richard Ernst first demonstrated Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance (FT NMR) in 1966. His procedure quickly replaced prior scanning techniques.

In the 1950s, the first commercial spectrometers were created and quickly became a key tool for research chemists. Over time, the benchtop NMR spectrometer became a tool of choice.

You might be wondering, what on Earth is NMR spectroscopy? Simply put, it’s used for elucidating (meaning to make clear or clarify) molecular structure by providing different components of a molecule including type, number and the connectivity of the parts that compose a molecule.

To study and note the different components of a molecule, that’s where a NMR spectrometer comes in. There are many benefits to using a benchtop NMR spectrometer or low field NMR, which include:

  • A quick path to quantitative data: Using a benchtop or low field NMR spectrometer allows chemists to have a quick and easy way to use the relative integrations of resonances which are then used to determine the relative and/or absolute molar ratios of different components in solution.
  • A quality backup: If a high-field NMR spectrometer is unavailable, a benchtop or low field NMR spectrometer can be used for many of the applications that a high-field model is used for and it allows chemists to save time.
  • Keeping costs down: Another benefit of the benchtop NMR spectrometer is that there’s no additional maintenance costs involved.
  • A teaching tool: In the classroom, a benefit of the benchtop NMR spectrometer is that it’s an effective tool for teaching NMR spectroscopy to students. Traditional NMR spectrometers such as a low field NMR spectrometer aren’t always available and the benchtop models allow students to take a hands-on approach where they can run samples and learn the theories, applications and benefits of such an important tool in chemistry.

Whether you use a portable NMR spectrometer, a low field NMR spectrometer, a tabletop NMR spectrometer or another model, having an NMR spectrometer for use is an invaluable tool in chemistry. From giving strong amounts of quantitative data to its usefulness in teaching, there are many useful applications of the tool.

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