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Techniques & Tools Spectroscopy

Jumping on the NMR Pulse Train

Nobody has the time or inclination to wait over a century for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) results. In the past, such a delay would understandably have hampered analysis of complex structures – but now, Kong Ooi Tan, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his colleagues have developed a novel way of improving the sensitivity of NMR spectroscopy to massively reduce the time needed to study the structures of intricate molecules (1). Using the new approach, scientists should be able to analyze complicated molecular structures, such as that of the amyloid beta (Aβ) protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, in just one day – a fantastic improvement over the 110 years previous techniques would have required.

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  1. KO Tan et al., “Time-optimized pulsed dynamic nuclear polarization”, Sci Adv, 5, eaav6909 (2019).
  2. A Trafton, “Enhanced NMR reveals chemical structures in a fraction of the time” (2019). Available at: bit.ly/2EDROBh. Accessed March 1, 2019.

About the Author

Ryan De Vooght-Johnson

After graduating from the University of Warwick with a masters in instrumental and analytical methods for biological, pharmaceutical, and environmental chemistry, I worked in the laboratory in various analytical development roles. I was then lucky to find my calling in academic publishing and science writing. I’ve been a commissioning editor and launch editor in a biomedical publisher and since 2014, I’ve been working as a freelance science writer and editor.

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