Design and construction of an ultrasonic probe for use in a Cryo-Magnet NMR Spectrometer

  • Anna L. Weekes

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


SINNMR (Sonically Induced Narrowing of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectra of solids), is a novel technique that is being developed to enable the routine study of solids by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. SINNMR aims to narrow the broad resonances that are characteristic of solid state NMR by inducing rapid incoherent motion of solid particles suspended in a support medium, using high frequency ultrasound in the range 2-10 MHz.
The width of the normal broad resonances from solids are due to incomplete averaging of several components of the total spin Hamiltonian caused by restrictions placed on molecular motion within a solid. At present Magic Angle Spinning (MAS) NMR is the classical solid state technique used to reduce line broadening, but: this has associated problems, not least of which is the appearance of many spinning side bands which confuse the spectra. It is hoped that SlNNMR will offer a simple alternative, particularly as it does not reveal spinning sidebands
The fundamental question concerning whether the use of ultrasound within a cryo-magnet will cause quenching has been investigated with success, as even under the most extreme conditions of power, frequency and irradiator time, the magnet does not quench.
The objective of this work is to design and construct a SINNMR probe for use in a super conducting cryo-magnet NMR spectrometer. A cell for such a probe has been constructed and incorporated into an adapted high resolution broadband probe. It has been proved that the cell is capable of causing cavitation, up to 10 MHz, by running a series of ultrasonic reactions within it and observing the reaction products. It was found that the ultrasound was causing the sample to be heated to unacceptable temperatures and this necessitated the incorporation of temperature stabilisation devices. Work has been performed on the investigation of the narrowing of the solid state 23Na spectrum of tri-sodium phosphate using high frequency ultrasound. Work has also been completed on the signal enhancement and T1 reduction of a liquid mixture and a pure compound using
Some preliminary "bench" experiments have been completed on a novel ultrasonic device designed to help minimise sample heating. The concept involves passing the ultrasound through a temperature stabilised, liquid filled funnel that has a drum skin on the end that will enable the passage of ultrasound into the sample. Bench experiments have proved that acoustic attenuation is low and that cavitation in the liquid beyond the device is still possible.

Date of AwardJun 1998
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Homer (Supervisor)


  • line narrowing
  • ultrasound
  • enhanced signals
  • T1 reduction

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