Polymer Chemistry

Polymer research in academia has long benefitted from NMR spectroscopy. Many of the samples that need to be investigated can be submitted to NMR analysis with minimal preparation which might affect structure or composition.

One characteristic that makes NMR suitable for polymer analysis is its highly linear response over a very large dynamic range. It is crucial in this field to be able to characterize an end-group of a polymer in the presence of near one million monomer repeats. As a primary quantitative ratio method NMR can provide an easy way to give the researchers not only a qualitative but also highly accurate quantitative view into their materials.

When analyzing polymers, researchers are interested in structural features of a polymer such as chain length, tacticity, branching or cross-linking. Tacticity describes how monomer units are arranged in the polymerchain, which could be head to head, head to tail, tail to tail or in irregular patterns. Chainlength can for example be established by careful quantitation of backbone versus endgroup signals.

Properties of polymers are additionally influenced by the use of co-polymers, modifiers, plasticizers and more. These can both affect whether a plastic is resistant to heat, resistant to chemicals, and whether it has the right amount of flexibility for its purpose, as well as other characteristics such as plasticity. Since NMR can give information about the dynamics of a molecule the effects on the flexibility of a molecule in solution as a function of modifications can be studied.

Valuable tools developed by Bruker that aid in this type of blended material analysis include their high temperature probes, and large volume, cryogenically cooled probes. The latter being important as polymer samples are often highly viscous and hard to get into small diameter tubes. Additionally the large amounts of sample will allow more easily the detection of small amounts of impurities.

A heated sample changer allows that polymer samples can be kept at elevated temperatures and thus a liquid state from preparation to measurement.  Bruker has also developed a series of probes that are optimal for the analysis of fluorinated materials. These include conventional and cryogenically cooled probes that allow the simultaneous observation and decoupling of protons, carbon and fluorine.

The scientists at Bruker have also collaborated with scientists in the field of polymer research to newly develop and further improve experiments and measurement techniques to lead to better and more insightful results.

Relevant Products

Double Resonance Probes    

The Bruker Dual Probes offer an ideal combination of outstanding sensitivity, lineshape and pulse widths.
Ascend 400

NMR Instruments

NMR is an information rich, non-destructive analytical technique. It provides detailed information about molecular structure, dynamic processes and allows the direct observation of chemical reactions.

EPR Instruments

Bruker's high-performance portfolio of EPR instruments offers a non-destructive analytical technique for the direct detection of paramagnetic species. Free radicals and transition metal ions can be identified and quantified in solids, liquids, gases, cells, and in vivo. Structural insights from the chemical structure to intermolecular interactions are obtained from both CW and Pulse EPR techniques.


The AvanceCore solution offers premium high-resolution NMR at a more affordable price, making NMR more accessible than ever before.
Avance Neo Console


The AVANCE NEO consoles for NMR feature even faster control, improved dynamic range and greater flexibility and scalability than ever before.
Avance Neo 400

Ascend NMR Magnets

Our Ascend line of magnets combines several of Bruker’s proprietary, innovative magnet technologies for best performance and cost efficiency.


The DiffBB is a broadband gradient probe optimized for very strong gradient pulses made for samples in 5 mm sample tubes. Its broadband capability supports 1H and 19F, and a broadband X nucleus range
Fourier 80

Fourier 80

Building on decades of experience creating top-quality NMR instruments, Bruker has reimagined high-performance NMR spectroscopy in a compact, cost-efficient form
Solid State Probe

Solid-state NMR

Bruker has a wide range of products for extended solid-state NMR experiments providing unsurpassed sensitivity for exciting new applications in biomolecular research, material science, and pharmaceuticals.
magnettech ESR5000

Magnettech ESR5000

The Magnettech ESR5000 is an innovative research instrument with high quality performance. It offers dedicated and tailored turn-key solutions for specific quality control, medical, and pharmaceutical R&D applications.


The microESR is a small, portable research grade instrument and is also an ideal teaching tool for undergraduate chemistry labs. The spectrometer has a mass of only 10 kg and can easily fit in a fume hood or glove box, or be transported into the field. Plus, it requires no special installation or regular maintenance.
Polymers & Plastics

Polymers & Plastics

Bruker offers comprehensive solutions for the analysis of polymers and plastics. We provide the right tools, from raw materials to product and material development and including damage and failure analysis.

Recent Publications

Long-Chain Branch Detection and Quantification in Ethylene–Hexene LLDPE with 13C NMR

Zhe Zhou, Clemens Anklin, Rongjuan Cong, Xiaohua Qiu, and Rainer Kuemmerle


Polyolefin Analyses with a 10 mm Multinuclear NMR Cryoprobe

Zhe Zhou, Rainer Kuemmerle, Nathan Rau, Donald Eldred, Aitor Moreno, Barbara Czarniecki, Xiaohua Qiu, Rongjuan Cong, Anthony P. Gies, Leslie Fan, Evelyn Auyeung, Dain B. Beezer, Huong Dau, and Eva Harth
Analytical Chemistry 2020 92 (23), 15596-15603

A new decoupling method for accurate quantification of polyethylene copolymer composition and triad sequence distribution with 13C NMR

Zhe Zhou, Rainer Kümmerle, Xiaohua Qiu, David Redwine, Rongjuan Cong, Angela Taha, Dan Baugh, Bill Winniford,
Journal of Magnetic Resonance, 187, 2007, 225-233