Inspiring the next generation of research chemists

Inspiring the Next Generation of Research Chemists

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The power of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a technique favoured by scientists across the world to determine the molecular structure of liquid, solid and semi-solid samples, is firmly established. As technological advances, such as increasing magnetic field strengths, superconducting magnets, and more sensitive and more convenient probe heads, continue to boost the precision of the highly regarded technique, it continues to demand specialist knowledge and skill.

At Bruker, we seek to provide additional value to our community and it is with great pleasure that we can announce a new series of open source NMR spectroscopy tutorials from Professor Peter Bigler, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Now retired, Professor Bigler has many years' experience in Bruker's NMR technology and in delivering NMR spectroscopy lectures. Through these combined experiences, he grew to realize exactly what the students needed to learn to grow their core competencies to make the most of this advanced technique. Setting out to help nurture the next generation of research chemists, Professor Bigler has invested his time and considerable knowledge in developing a comprehensive online, interactive tutorial course. The course sets out to train participants in NMR spectroscopy and the correct setup and use of 1D and 2D experiments.

Freely available to every interested party, the tutorial seeks to equip users to exploit the potential of modern NMR spectrometers for elucidating molecular structures. In contrast to most textbooks on NMR spectroscopy, which mainly deal with the analysis of existing spectra, i.e. the extraction of spectral parameters and their conversion into structural information, the interactive tutorial focuses on the correct measurement and evaluation of NMR spectra. NMR spectra and hence the resulting spectral parameters depend not solely on the structure of the investigated molecule(s) but also on the NMR experiment, the mode of data processing applied, and the corresponding experimental and processing parameters.

Figure 1

For more demanding NMR investigations and when applying more sophisticated NMR pulse sequences, the tutorial also sets out to provide users with the necessary expertise for understanding how the corresponding NMR experiments work and how their successful outcome depends on the experiment's parameters. To support the project, Bruker has provided suitable NMR software tools (Bruker TopSpin™ package) for data processing and in particular for the simulation of 1D and 2D experiments.

The free NMR tutorial is a significant piece of work, comprising seven modules, and is designed as a self-teaching tool. Each user is encouraged to choose and concentrate on those issues that are of interest or best fulfil their needs, skipping those parts with which they are already familiar. The tutorial invites both newcomers - although it assumes that the user is familiar with the basics of NMR - and those who have already gained their first experiences in spectrometer operation and want to augment their comprehension of the relation between theory and practice or the dependence of the spectral appearance on experimental parameters.

Scheduled for launch towards the end of 2020, the NMR tutorial will be available via the ILIAS central teaching and learning platform, administrated by the University of Bern at

To echo the words of Professor Bigler, we hope this valuable resource will provide the curious with the opportunity to "Marvel at the beauty of NMR physics," and to "Enjoy rather than only learn the fundamentals of this fascinating technique."