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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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October 22, 2010

The Latest Technology

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Posted by Derek

Well, the latest for 1960, anyway. That's the Bruker KIS-1 NMR machine there, folks, operating at 25 MHZ, and ready to dim the lights in the whole building when you switch on that electromagnet. Allow about 12 hours of acquisition time to get a decent spectrum.
KIS-1.jpg
For those of you outside the field, a 300 MHZ NMR machine is now considered a average workhorse instrument, and should give you a spectrum (with resolution that would have made someone back then faint with joy) in a minute or so of acquisition time. We can do things with modern machines that they wouldn't have even dreamed of back in 1960, and people are still thinking up new tricks. All hail NMR!

Comments (28) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Analytical Chemistry


COMMENTS

1. SP on October 22, 2010 11:04 AM writes...

Is that magnet even cooled? I'm a doctor, Jim, not a miracle worker!

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2. retread on October 22, 2010 11:19 AM writes...

You betcha ! It may seem hilarious now, given the use of MRIs in medicine, but back then John Baldeschweiler had to keep water out of whatever he was running, so its protons wouldn't swamp anything.

The machines were huge, and my friend Tack Kuntz (probably Irwin to you) was never happier than when he was messing about with a machine big enough to allow him to climb inside.

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3. KJ on October 22, 2010 11:31 AM writes...

No acquisition time Derek; this was surely a continuous wave NMR machine so it just worked its way across the spectrum in real time. Some later CW machines allowed you to do a number of runs of the same spectrum and 'average' them but FT did not come in until later (early 1970s?)

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4. katre on October 22, 2010 12:01 PM writes...

Wow, that's awesome. And I thought the old 60 MHz continuous wave machine we used as undergrads was bad. At least it was only the size of a desk, and only took about 10 minutes to get a decent spectrum (that's five minutes for the first run, and then five minutes for the second after I realized the plotting pen had run out of ink.)

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5. startup on October 22, 2010 12:09 PM writes...

I not even sure about 300's, - we have retired our last one a few years ago.

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6. BFS on October 22, 2010 12:13 PM writes...

@4 katre

When I started at Pfizer in 1983, we had a bank of Varian T-60s. Overall, they served us pretty well, except during summer thunderstorms. Took hours to get them recalibrated. At that time the new 300 mHz was strictly off-limits.

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7. startup on October 22, 2010 12:35 PM writes...

By the way, Derek, have you seen mini-NMR based on Halbach array that was in Angewandte earlier this year?

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201000221

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8. S on October 22, 2010 1:08 PM writes...

This reminds me of the time when my dad told me about the 60 MHz NMR in the lab. where he did his Ph.D. in India (mind you this was the first and only one of its kind in India in the mid-60's....he said it like he felt privileged to have it at his beck and call :)). On his recent visit to the States, I did an NMR run for one of my compounds on the Varian 500 and the look on his face was just priceless.....

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9. HelicalZz on October 22, 2010 2:06 PM writes...

Nothing wrong with a good scanning 60 (MHz). It would give you a decent look at the protons and tell you that 'no, the solvent wasn't all removed yet' quick enough.

Zz

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10. Stiv on October 22, 2010 2:27 PM writes...

Enjoy your helium-cooled superconducting magnet NMR machines while you can:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/take-a-deep-breath-why-the-world-is-running-out-of-helium-2059357.html

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11. Nick K on October 22, 2010 2:45 PM writes...

God, that first Bruker looks like a monster! On the other hand, the early Varian 60MHz (introduced in the early 60's) was quite small and compact. It produced superbly resolved spectra (better in Hz terms than any supercon) in less than 5 minutes. There's one preserved in the Science Museum in London. I don't know if it still works, though.

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12. gippgig on October 22, 2010 2:58 PM writes...

This is off topic, but it is about drug development...
Washington, D.C. is holding the first USA Science & Engineering Festival over the weekend. It includes this exhibit:
"Can you make a new drug to cure cancer?
In this exhibit, participants will get to step into the role of a biopharmaceutical researcher and take their great idea through the many challenges and successes of a virtual drug development process. Celgene Corporation"
I might try this (altho I'm not involved in drug development). Would anyone be interested in a report (I won't post anything further on this unless someone asks)?

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13. RTW on October 22, 2010 3:02 PM writes...

I use to maintain an HA 100 built by Varian. The electro magnet was about the size of the console in your picture. It was water cooled and used a closed loop heat exchanger (which sprung a leak - thats another story). It was also a CW instrument and I beleive Varians first comercial NMR instrument. Its console was about the size central console shown in this picture and was filled full of Vacuum tubes. It could do Proton and Carbon. This was in the mid to late 70's I was keeping this thing running. And frequently went through and checked the soder joints and replaced all the vacuum tubes.

The Electrical Engineering dept, built a feedback locking system and I trhink a transmitter to pump in a pulsed wave form. The receiver's output was sent across campus via a phone line to the math departments analog computer to "acquire" a FID and do the transformation. The Analog computer would then send the transformed spectra back across the phone lines to plot on the CW ploter.

The professor I use to do this work for claimed that I could get it tuned better than the spec that it was delivered with. The department also had a Varian T-60 and EM-360. In the early 80's the department finally got a Varian super con 200 MHz instruent for research. It was a sad day when I started to dismantle that HA 100 though. I certainly have seen a lot technological change over in in NMR Spectroscopy in the last 30+ years.

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14. J on October 22, 2010 4:48 PM writes...

Does "more megahertz" = "better than" ?

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15. S on October 22, 2010 6:48 PM writes...

The appropriate background music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG_6CopW9GQ

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16. Derek Lowe on October 22, 2010 8:18 PM writes...

J, that's pretty much true. The Mhz frequency is proportional to the strength of the magnet that the machine uses. And the stronger the magnet, the more sensitive the instrument (other things being equal) and the higher the resolution.

When I was starting grad school in the early 1980s, 90 Mhz instruments were still to be seen, and 200 and 300 Mhz machines were the high end. Now you don't see so many 200s outside of teaching labs, and 300s are considered run-of-the-mill.

400 and 500 Mhz machines are all around these days, and you can buy 800 and even 1000 Mhz instruments if you want to spend the serious cash. (They get fiercely more expensive as you go up the scale, since it gets harder to make the magnets, and harder to engineer the electronics on back end).

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17. Jose on October 22, 2010 9:41 PM writes...

900 MHz magnet, even titled "The future beckons!"

http://www.physics.iitm.ac.in/~labs/nmr/900MHz.jpg

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18. barry on October 22, 2010 11:03 PM writes...

When I started grad school in the early 80s, our department still had an XL-100 running. That cost $5000/annum in current and $10,000/annum in cooling water for the power supply (but I could shim it down to 0.18Hz which I've never been able to match on a super-con). We also had a 300MHz super-con. You could write your data to a 14" Winchester drive for storage--but if you wanted to process a COESY dataset, you had to over-write the data as you did so--that's all the room we had.

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19. HK on October 23, 2010 6:19 PM writes...

My alma mater ran a 60MHz for the undergrad labs (for perspective, I'm only 24 so this wasn't that long ago). As I was graduating, they were able to purchase a 300MHz through donations dedicated just for the undergrad labs, which was pretty cool. I heard later that they were contacted by a museum to purchase their old 60MHz.

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20. Resveratrol Receptor on October 24, 2010 2:03 PM writes...

I wonder if you can fetch something metal and use the 25's magnetic field to work out?

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21. Karl on October 24, 2010 2:24 PM writes...

The Bruker came complete with built-in Eico 460 oscilloscope, if the picture can be believed. (I actually have one of those things, and it worked the last time I turned it on, maybe 3-4 years ago. The Eico, I mean, not a Bruker!)

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22. Algirdas on October 25, 2010 12:06 PM writes...

Stiv:

"Enjoy your helium-cooled superconducting magnet NMR machines while you can"

i) I heard a rumour that Bruker have a system where they somehow recycle He via cryoprobe, making He refills much less frequent. (Similar system for nitrogen is already functional http://www.bruker-biospin.com/n2liquefier.html)

ii) air has 5 ppm He. Too expensive to extract at a moment, but when underground He is gone, this will become a plentiful source of (much more expensive than currently) helium.

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23. Physicist on October 26, 2010 8:21 AM writes...

@22:

Helium recondensers are practical for 20 mK dilution fridges -- no reason why they wouldn't be reasonable for a magnet that's in persistent mode for months at a time. Upfront cost is high, but not high compared to a 900 MHz magnet, and running costs are basically 10 kW continuous plus cooling water. At the moment, liquid helium is cheaper than that in the US, but that could certainly change.

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24. Denzil on February 9, 2012 7:51 PM writes...

Alan, you and your caegeoluls at Varian have been critical to many successes in MRI. Thank you all!

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25. Denzil on February 9, 2012 7:52 PM writes...

Alan, you and your caegeoluls at Varian have been critical to many successes in MRI. Thank you all!

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26. Denzil on February 9, 2012 7:52 PM writes...

Alan, you and your caegeoluls at Varian have been critical to many successes in MRI. Thank you all!

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27. Eric on March 4, 2012 11:57 PM writes...

There is a small bench scale NMR (picoNMR I think) which operates at 45 MHz and is about the size of a computer.
Who would have thought that was possible 20 years ago?

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28. Trudie Macabeo on March 29, 2014 12:38 PM writes...

Kelly, great post and I agree completely. Banning lppaots is a knee jerk reaction by people who don't understand how the technology can enhance the classroom experience. Case in point this week we covered many websites and I think you had your laptop open in class and followed along as we discussed various web tools. Leaders of all ages need to embrace technology and reverse mentorship' so that we can all learn, grow and build our businesses.

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