Warwick University to host powerful nuclear magnetic resonance instrument
Image credit: Warwick University
A consortium led by the University of Warwick has been awarded £17m to procure the UK’s most powerful nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instrument.
There are only seven such NMR machines currently operating around the world, with the latest one to be hosted at Warwick University.
The funds have been awarded to a consortium of six UK Universities through the UKRI Infrastructure Fund: Lancaster, Liverpool, Nottingham, Southampton and St Andrews.
The 1.2GHz NMR spectrometer will be located in a new building at the University of Warwick, creating two new jobs for scientists in the process. The powerful instrument builds on the current capability of 1.0GHz at the Warwick-hosted UK High-Field Solid-State NMR National Research Facility (pictured below).
The state-of-the-art facility will be available for experts all around the country, with a view towards fostering innovation and positioning the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific research.
Currently, researchers are using NMR technology to improve green infrastructure by expanding their knowledge of how to make more efficient plant biofuels, and to improve batteries and solar cells.
The instrument will also be used in research on anti-microbial resistance and drug design and delivery.
“It is exciting that Warwick has been selected as the site for this world-class NMR instrumentation," said Professor Steven Brown, from the University of Warwick's Solid State NMR Group. "I look forward to working with the consortium partners and the UK community to deliver this world-class resource for UK science.”
NMR instruments are used to analyse complex materials to work out their structure. This is done using magnets that are about one million times more powerful than the earth’s magnetic field, providing valuable insight into atomic-scale structure, disorder and dynamics of complex systems. They work on the magnetic field of each atom in the material being investigated and provide detailed information on the atomic-level structure of that material.
Professor Caroline Meyer, pro-vice chancellor (research) at the University of Warwick, said: “This instrument will provide the greatest resolution and sensitivity yet, allowing us to make scientific breakthroughs that will benefit us all as they improve our technology in a range of areas.”
Jane Nicholson, research base director at EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation said: “This national facility, one of only seven 1.2GHz magnets in the world, will advance the study of all types of molecules.
“The applications will be many and varied with the potential for new insights into areas such as materials for energy applications, catalysis, pharmaceutical research, synthetic biology and antimicrobial resistance.”
The University of Warwick houses the largest solid-state NMR facility in the UK. In 2020, it was able to energise a 1.2GHz magnet for NMR for the first time in the UK.
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