What Does an NMR Spectrum Sound Like?

Now, I know that you're thinking that this is a crazy question but read on ...

If you have not read the section on the rotating frame, please do so now. You cannot understand what is to follow without it. OK, if we are detecting rotational frequencies in the rotating frame then these frequencies are just the difference between the laboratory frame frequency and the rotating frame frequency. For example, if the rotating frame freqency is 500.237845 MHz and the laboratory frame nmr signal is 500.238279 MHz then the difference between the two is 500.238279 - 500.237845 = 0.000434 MHz or 434 Hz. This is the frequency of the nmr signal in the rotating frame and is the frequency of the signal that the digitizer sees.. So what, you ask? Well, ask yourself what the audible range of frequencies is for humans. It is something like 60 Hz to 20000 Hz ... 434 Hz falls within this range! Therefore we should be able to hear it!!

All we have to do is tap into the analog signal just before it enters the digitizer and amplify it and feed it into some speakers and ... voila ... the sound of nmr:

It doesn't matter which channel you tap into, real or imaginary ... the signal will still be audible. I have done just that for you. Here are a few sounds:

  1. Sucrose octaacetate
  2. Water
  3. A scale of water signals
  4. An nmr chord

I wish that I was the first to think of doing this. I mean recording the sounds and then putting them up on a web page. However, I'm not. The first web page of this type that I am aware of is here.

There is also a very interesting page about nmr sound here.