Evaluation of the sonically induced narrowing of nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of solids

  • Mark J. Howard

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectra of liquids contain a wealth of quantitative information that may be derived, for instance, from chemical shifts and spin-spin couplings. The available information depends on the incoherent rapid molecular motion that causes complicating effects present in the solid state to average to zero. Whereas liquid state NMR spectra show narrow lines, the corresponding NMR spectra from the solid state are normally composed of exceedingly broad resonance lines due to highly restricted molecular motion. It is, therefore, difficult to obtain directly as detailed information from the spectra of solids as from those derived from the liquid state.
    Studies on a new technique (SINNMR, the sonically induced narrowing of the NMR spectra of solids) to remove line broadening effects in the NMR spectra of the solid state are reported within this thesis. SINNMR involves narrowing the NMR absorptions from solid particles by irradiating them with ultrasound when they are suspended in a support liquid. It is proposed that ultrasound induces incoherent motion of the suspended particles, producing motional characteristics of the particles similar to those of rather large molecules. The first report of apparently successful experiments involving SINNMR[1] emphasised both the irreproducibility of the technique and the uncertainty regarding its true origin. If SINNMR can be made reproducible and the effect definitively attributed to the sonically induced incoherent motional averaging of particles, the technique could offer a simple alternative to the now classical magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR[2] and the recently reported dynamic angle spinning (DAS)[3] and double rotation (DOR)[4] techniques.
    Evidence is presented in this thesis to support the proposal that ultrasound may be used to narrow the NMR spectral resonances from solids by inducing incoherent motion of particles suspended in support liquids and, additionally, for some solids, by inducing rotational motion of molecular constituents in the lattices of solids. Successful SINNMR line narrowing using 20 kHz ultrasound is reported for a variety of samples: including trisodium orthophosphate, polytetrafluoroethylene and aluminium alloys. Investigations of SINNMR line narrowing in trisodium phosphate have revealed the relationship between ultrasonic power, particle size and support liquid density for the production of optimum SINNMR conditions. It is also proposed that the incoherent motion of particles induced by 20 kHz ultrasound can originate from interactions between acoustically induced cavitation microjets and particles.
    Date of AwardSept 1994
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJohn Homer (Supervisor)


    • SINNMR
    • NMR
    • ultrasound
    • incoherent motion
    • solid-state

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