1. What is NMR Spectroscopy?

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a research technique that exploits the magnetic properties of certain atomic nuclei that contain an odd number of protons and/or neutrons. The most commonly studied nuclei are 1H and 13C, although nuclei from isotopes of many other elements can also be used, for example 2H, 10B, 11B, 14N, 15N, 17O, 19F, 23Na, 29Si, 31P, 35Cl, 113Cd, 195Pt. NMR Spectroscopy is one of the most powerful techniques for structural elucidation and solution conformational analysis of organic and inorganic compounds and biomacromolecules.

2. NMR seems very complicated. Do I need a complete understanding of NMR in order to use the facility and obtain data?

No. The theory behind NMR is very complicated, but you do not need to have an in-depth understanding of it to collect data to answer a particular question or obtain a structure. The CAI staff includes experts in multiple areas of NMR spectroscopy who can train you to run the sample and analyse the data. If you require training or have questions about NMR spectroscopy, please contact the facility manager.

3. Is there a way to find out if my biomacromolecule is amenable to NMR analysis?

Yes, there are several questions that should be addressed:
i) What problem do you want to study? NMR is a very good approach for some problems but not for others.
ii) What is the molecular mass of your biomacromolecule and does it dimerise or oligimerise? If it is ~20 kDa or more, there may be limits on what can be studied.
iii) How much sample can you produce, is it soluble at the concentration needed by NMR, and can you incorporate stable isotopes?

Our staff can help you determine the best experimental approach for your particular research question.

4. How long does it take to run an experiment?

The amount of time it takes to run an experiment depends upon the particular problem that you are studying, the amount of data that must be collected, and the concentration of the sample. For a simple 1D spectrum of a small molecule, the experimental time is usually less than 15 minutes. Collecting the data for the determination of a protein structure may take 2-3 weeks. Please discuss further with the facility manager.

5. Is there someone who can train me to use NMR and to analyse data?

New and experienced local users will be required to attend training on-site at the St Lucia campus. Our facility managers will train all users.

6. How do I book the NMR spectrometer?

In order to book the spectrometer, there are several steps that need to be undertaken:
i. A project form must be submitted and approved
ii. Building induction must be completed (local user)
iii. NMR room induction must be completed (local user)
iv. NMR training completed (local user)
NMR bookings can be lodged via our intranet site. You will be given a username and password after induction and training are completed.

7. Do I have to come to Brisbane to run my sample?

Non-local researchers can request time on a spectrometer and courier the sample to CAI. One of our staff members can acquire and send the data to you for analysis. Other acquisition options could be available upon discussions with the facility manager.

*** Please contact the facility manager prior to sending samples. ***

8. Where is the CAI located?

Having trouble finding us? Our facilities are located in the Centre for Advanced Imaging
Building 57, Research Road, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld Australia 4072. If you need some help, download a PDF map of the St Lucia campus.