Seeking Introduction to NMR Spectroscopy for the Lay Reader
August 18, 2009 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for articles or books, aimed at the lay reader, which explain in general terms or offer good background information about NMR spectroscopy.

I know very little about this topic, and hold no science or engineering degrees. I am only looking for general information at this point to help me understand the basics about NMR spectroscopy. It would be a bonus if any materials also discuss "fast methods," though I realize that may be asking a bit much.

Thanks very much.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
Since the scientist that developed NMR, Richard Ernst, won a Nobel Prize, the official Nobel Prize website has some great information on the topic that's geared toward the public. Here's an illustrated presentation posted on the site that describes the technology:

Also, fun fact: The ubiquitous medical imaging tool MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is fundamentally the same technology as NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and was only renamed for medical purposes because doctors were afraid that the word "nuclear" would scare patients away from getting imaged. The more relevant point here is that you can also look online for descriptions of how MRIs work to find out about NMR spectroscopy. Here's a link to start out with: Skip to sections 7-9 for the most relevant parts.
posted by sashapearl at 6:15 PM on August 18, 2009

Wow. Light reading about NMR.... That's got to be a pretty small niche.

Just poking around the web, I got some good stuff with the searches (NMR spin flip) and (NMR shift splitting). This tutorial seemed like a good starting point, but you may have seen a couple like this already.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:11 PM on August 18, 2009

Response by poster: Wow. Light reading about NMR.... That's got to be a pretty small niche.

Heh, yeah, I know. I do appreciate anything you can offer, though, so thanks to everyone so far for all suggestions.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:15 PM on August 18, 2009

Is it possible for you to elaborate a little bit on why you need to know about NMR or what level of understanding you need to reach? It would help a bit in terms of guidance. Depending on the answer, I can maybe dig up some of my less-challenging books for recommendation, or a really basic level can be written out in about five minutes.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 9:01 PM on August 18, 2009

In England, NMR spectroscopy is included on the chemistry syllabus for A-level (exams typically sat by 18 year olds). The relevant chapter in an A-level chemistry textbook might be a good start, and should be accessible. However, it will not go into much depth.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 3:52 AM on August 19, 2009

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