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Proceedings Paper

Development of high resolution NMR spectroscopy as a structural tool
Author(s): James Feeney
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Paper Abstract

The discovery of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) phenomenon and its development and exploitation as a scientific tool provide an excellent basis for a case-study for examining the factors which control the evolution of scientific techniques. Since the detection of the NMR phenomenon and the subsequent rapid discovery of all the important NMR spectral parameters in the late 1940s, the method has emerged as one of the most powerful techniques for determining structures of molecules in solution and for analysis of complex mixtures. The method has made a dramatic impact on the development of structural chemistry over the last 30 years and is now one of the key techniques in this area. Support for NMR instrumentation attracts a dominant slice of public funding in most scientifically developed countries. The technique is an excellent example of how instrumentation and technology have revolutionised structural chemistry and it is worth exploring how it has been developed so successfully. Clearly its wide range of application and the relatively direct connection between the NMR data and molecular structure has created a major market for the instrumentation. This has provided several competing manufacturers with the incentive to develop better and better instruments. Understanding the complexity of the basics of NMR spectroscopy has been an ongoing challenge attracting the attention of physicists. The well-organised specialist NMR literature and regular scientific meetings have ensured rapid exploitation of any theoretical advances that have a practical relevance. In parallel, the commercial development of the technology has allowed the fruits of such theoretical advances to be enjoyed by the wider scientific community.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1992
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 10309, Invisible Connections: Instruments, Institutions, and Science, 103090D (1 June 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.2283718
Show Author Affiliations
James Feeney, National Institute for Medical Research (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10309:
Invisible Connections: Instruments, Institutions, and Science
Robert Bud; Susan E. Cozzens, Editor(s)

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