Brian Breczinski, left, and David Rovnyak with the new 600 MHz instrument.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — A ribbon cutting, toast, and equipment demonstrations greeted the official opening of the Bucknell chemistry department's nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facility Wednesday.

The facility, located in the Rooke Chemistry Building, features two new state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers made by Varian Inc. The facility will be a regional undergraduate research hub with research time being made available to researchers from neighboring universities.

The new instruments, made possible in part by a $475,000 National Science Foundation grant authored by David Rovnyak, assistant professor of chemistry, and other Bucknell faculty, place Bucknell in select company. Bucknell is one of three undergraduate universities in the country to have such sophisticated instrumentation.

Hands-on experiences
The new instruments replace a 14-year-old 300 MHz instrument that had provided hundreds of students with hands-on experiences using modern chemistry techniques. Data from the instrument had been featured in numerous peer-reviewed research papers.

But Brian Breczinski, NMR, computer and instrument specialist, said the time had come to move to the newer, more capable instruments that were unveiled Wednesday.

Breczinski said a 400 MHz machine will take over the duty of routine, daily NMR analysis, while a 600 MHz device will add significant new research capabilities for biologists, chemists, and materials scientists.

Solid state NMR
"A solids probe will for the first time take Bucknell from liquid state NMR into the realm of solid state NMR," said Breczinski. "This probe will be featured in course work as well as research. (The 600 MHz) instrument will be used for very long experiments that could not be attempted previously."

"The higher field strength and modern probe and electronics will greatly improve sensitivity compared to the 300 MHz instrument," Breczinski said. The higher field will also provide higher resolution."

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy is used in the study of the molecular structure of physical, chemical, and biological matter.

Posted May 31, 2007

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