Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and ultrasound

  • Sunil U. Patel

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The work described in this thesis is directed to the examination of the hypothesis that ultrasound may be used to perturb molecular motion in the liquid phase. These changes can then be detected by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in spin-lattice and spin-spin relaxation times. The objective being to develop a method capable of reducing the pulsed NMR acquisition times of slowly relaxing nuclei.
The thesis describes the theoretical principles underlying both NMR spectroscopy and ultrasonics with particular attention being paid to factors that impinge on testing the above hypothesis.
Apparatus has been constructed to enable ultrasound at frequencies between 1 and 10 mega-hertz with a variable power up to 100W/cm-2 to be introduced in the NMR sample. A broadband high frequency generator is used to drive PZT piezo-electric transducer via various transducer to liquid coupling arrangements. A commercial instrument of 20 kilo-hertz has also been employed to test the above hypothesis and also to demonstrate the usefulness of ultrasound in sonochemistry. The latter objective being, detection of radical formation in monomer and polymer ultrasonic degradation.
The principle features of the results obtained are: Ultrasonic perturbation of T1 is far smaller for pure liquids than is for mixtures. The effects appear to be greater on protons (1H) than on carbon-13 nuclei (13C) relaxation times. The observed effect of ultrasonics is not due to temperature changes in the sample. As the power applied to the transducer is progressively increased T1 decreases to a minimum and then increases. The T1's of the same nuclei in different functional groups are influenced to different extents by ultrasound.
Studies of the 14N resonances from an equimolar mixture of N, N-dimethylformamide and deuterated chloroform with ultrasonic frequencies at 1.115, 6, 6.42 and 10 MHz show that as the frequency is increased the NMR signal to noise ratio decreases to zero at the Larmor frequency of 6.42 MHz and then again rises. This reveals the surprising indication that an effect corresponding to nuclear acoustic saturation in the liquid may be observable. Ultrasonic irradiation of acidified ammonium chloride solution at and around 6.42 MHz appears to cause distinctive changes in the proton-nitrogen J coupling resonance at 89.56 MHz. Ultrasonic irradiation of N, N-dimethylacetamide at 2 KHz using the lowest stable power revealed the onset of coalescence in the proton spectrum. The corresponding effect achieved by direct heating required a temperature rise of approximately 30oC. The effects of low frequency (20 KHz) on relaxation times appear to be nil. Detection of radical formation proved difficult but is still regarded as the principle route for monomer and polymer degradation.
The initial hypothesis is considered proven with the results showing significant changes in the mega-hertz region and none at 20 KHz.
Date of AwardMar 1989
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Homer (Supervisor)


  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • spin-lattice relaxation
  • spin-spin relaxation
  • ultrasonic
  • sonochemistry

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