NMR Spectrometer

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Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer.

The model has all of the major components of a high field NMR spectrometer:

  • A superconducting magnet in a large insulated 'can' to hold the liquid nitrogen and liquid helium needed to keep the magnet core superconducting.
  • 2 probes, which are used to hold the sample in the strongest part of the magnetic field and transmit and receive signals to and from the sample.
  • A pre-amplifier unit, handling signal transmission to and from the probe and console
  • A console cabinet to house the signal generators, receiver units and amplifier.
  • A Computer workstation for the scientist to control  things from.

NMR is a versatile technique for analysing chemical structures at the atomic level. It allows detailed information about the chemistry of a sample to be determined.  The theory behind NMR was used to develop the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) medical scanners you see in hospitals.

NMR spectroscopy relies on the fact that the nuclei of many elements interact with magnetic fields. These magnetically active nuclei resonate in the external magnetic field. By transmitting a pulse of electro-magnetic radiation (radio waves) at the sample, this resonance can be distorted as the nuclei absorb energy from the radio signal. Once the pulse has ended, the nuclei release energy as a new radio frequency signal, as they return to resonate with the external field.  The signal given out by each nucleus in a molecule depends on the type of element, the strength of the magnetic field and the local magnetic environment the nucleus 'feels'. This local environment is effected by the magnetic properties of neighbouring nuclei and can be used to build up atom by atom information about the molecules in a sample.

The set would be a great addition to any Lego science laboratory, extending the lab capabilities for budding scientists to pursue their research. The set would introduce a high tech piece of modern scientific equipment and could lead to more opportunities for learning about science and research. A new scientist (NMR Spectroscopist) minifig could even be included!

In addition, NMR using, adult lego fans may also want a system for their office/desk and it may even appeal to NMR equipment manufacturers wanting a quirky give away at conferences or sales presentations!