The NMR Laboratory

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Frequent Q&A

Who can use the NMR facility?

Solution NMR Facility Users 

To use the service solution NMR facility, one must be a faculty member, a registered student, or other researcher affiliated with the University of Delaware.   One must take and pass a user training course before allowed to have an access to the NMR laboratory and operating the NMR spectrometers

Solid-state NMR Facility Users

For users who are affiliated with the University, a supervised sample service can be arranged for solid-state NMR spectrometers.   Please email Dr. Caitlin Quinn to request instrument time.  In general,  it is user’s obligation to provide the solid-state sample rotor(s) for a service.  Please contact Dr. Quinn for further information.

External Users

Users, who are not affiliated with the University, may not operate any instrument of  NMR laboratory.  However, a supervised and fee-based NMR service can be arranged.  Please contact Dr. Steve Bai for more information.

What kind of user training programs is available? 

Level 1: The training program at level 1 is designed for the users who need to use solution spectrometers equipped with an auto-sampler, such as AV400 and AVIII600 NMR instruments. The operation of these spectrometers is completely computerized automated.  The training program is focused on the sample preparation, the sample loading/unloading, and the job submission. The training program at level 1 is also focused on the NMR laboratory safety.  It provides knowledge about the design and operation of superconducting magnets and the associated safety concerns and precautions. The safety training includes discussion of the evacuation plan. The purpose of this training is to ensure that all users are fully aware of the potential safety hazards associated with the NMR laboratory.

To request for a training at level 1, please follow this link and fill out and submit all necessary information. Once a group of 3 to 4 requests is gathered,  a training session will be arranged.

Level 2: The training program at level 2 is designed for the users who need to use solution NMR spectrometers in a manual operation mode, such as the AVIII 400 NMR instrument. The training at this level involves description and demonstrations of manual operations of the instrument. The prerequisite is that the users must have successfully completed the training at level 1. For a faculty member or a postdoc, no additional prerequisite is required; however, for a graduate student, this training program is closely associated with a one-credit course “Practical NMR Spectroscopy” taught by Dr. Steve Bai every semester. This course provides fundamental training in theoretical and practical NMR spectroscopy, including hands-on experience in acquisition and processing of the spectral data in advanced experiments. The typical enrollment is 10-15 students per semester. Please contact Dr. Steve Bai for more information on training of Level 2.

Level 3: The training program at level 3 is designed for the users who need to use biomolecular solution NMR spectrometers, such as the AV600/CryoProbe. The prerequisite is that the users must have successfully completed the training at level 2. The trainees are additionally recommended to take the graduate Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy course, taught on a biennial basis by Dr. Polenova.  This training program at level 3 typically lasts several hours to a day, and focuses on setting up experimental parameters for advanced 2D or 3D NMR experiments for biomolecular samples, for spectrometer parameter calibrations, and precautions for the use of CryoPorbes. Dr. Bai is responsible of this level of users’ training.

Level 4: The training program at this level is designed for the users who need to use solid-state NMR spectrometers, such as AVIII 500WB and AV850US systems. The prerequisite for this level is that users must have successfully completed the training at level 2. The level 4 training program is divided into two concentrations: small molecule and bio-macromolecular applications. For small molecule applications, the NMR rotor packing, sample loading/unloading, sample spinning, and the magic angle adjustment are covered. Basic double resonance experiment setup is also covered. Trainees must pass an operation test administered by Dr. Caitlin Quinn before an official user status is granted. Users who are interested in bio-macromolecular applications are required to take the Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy course, taught on a biennial basis by Dr. Polenova (see above) before the request for the training with bio-macromolecular concentration is accepted. The training program with bio-macromolecular concentration is focused on triple-resonance experimental parameter setup, spectrometer parameter calibration, hardware connection, probe switch, and safety precautions when using fast magic angle spinning probes. The users must pass a test on the spectrometer operation administered by Dr. Quinn before access to the instrument is granted. The user training of level 4 is currently provided by Dr. Caitlin Quinn.

How to reserve an instrument? 

400 MHz AV and 600 MHz AVIII NMR Spectrometers

The AV400 (045 BRL)  and AVIII600 (049 BRL)  spectrometers are equipped with auto-samplers, and sample queue is controlled by a built-in software.  The queue is based on a principle of first come first serve.  The day queue is designed for short term experiments such as routine proton and 13C NMR with 64-scan or less for a quick turn-around.  The night queues are dedicated for experiments that require more than one hour of instrument time, such as 13C NMR with 1024-scan or more and other multiple-dimensional experiments.

400 MHz AVIII, 600 MHz AV Spectrometers 

Upon a completion of a proper training, a user will be given a user account to reserve  400 MHz AVIII, 600 MHz AV instrument time online.  The iLab web instrument reservation is based on first come first serve.  The signup rules, which have been approved by the CBC Technical Service Committee (TSC), are reinforced by the web reservation software.  To reserve longer term instrument time for special experiments, please contact Steve Bai.  For detailed information on making an instrument reservation in iLab, please see the following link:

 500 MHz WB AVIII WB NMR Spectrometer

The instrument reservation is carried out on a rolling basis.  Requests for time must be submitted by email to Dr. Caitlin Quinn.  The instrument schedule is set 2-4 weeks in advance based on probe availability, desired applications, and general instrument availability.  In general, each user only can reserve not more than a week of instrument time per month.  For any special request of longer instrument time, one must contact Dr. Quinn five weeks in advance.

850 MHz  SB AVIII NMR Spectrometer

To be announced soon.