Practical NMR Spectroscopy

If I can do NMR so can you


The nuclear magnetic resonance facilities of the University of Saskatchewan are located in the Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Center (SSSC).

We have four Bruker solution spectrometers, one 500 MHz Avance HD III, two 500 MHz Avances and one 600 MHz Avance HD III with cryoprobe.

These pages make extensive use of Greek symbols. I have used html entities for the math symbols (hopefully you will be able to see them) and a Greek font for the rest. The font is SPIONIC.TTF and is available for free download here. If anyone can satisfactorily explain html character entities and why they display on some machines and not on others I would really be interested. I wasted a lot of time on them and gave up in favor of using the Greek font.

If you're like me and are a little slow to learn some of the more complex stuff about high tech gadgets of today because of obtuse or confusing documentation or literature explanations then this is the place for you .. especially if you want some practical nmr information. There is lots of detail here on the various pages but remember, as the Firesign Theatre group said in the sixties .. "I think we're all bozos on this bus". If we take this as a given this means that I am a bozo too and have very likely made some rather silly mistakes on these pages. Please bear this in mind and either flame me or correct me. I prefer the latter to the former if you can manage it, thank you.

You just can't do any real nmr spectroscopy without some theoretical background so we start with the basics, the physics of the magnetic moment followed by generalized angular momentum and then the vector model, density matrices and product operators and a little bit about pulsed field gradients.

The practical portion then proceeds with a tour of the spectrometer showing you all of the important (and perhaps not so important) parts. Then I try to put it all together to get you up and running. I have experience only on Bruker machines so all commands are in Brukerese. Where possible I will try to give the corresponding Varian command if I can find my nmr Rosetta stone ... it was lying around somewhere the other day.

One final note: this set of web pages is presently under construction ... really! Please watch for changes occurring on a more or less daily basis (except weekends of course .. anyone who does nmr 24x7 needs a life. Why not try doing music like me?).

As Ricky Ricardo would say: I got some 'splainin' to do.


The chapters in a nmr mathematics text that I am preparing.

  1. Chapter 1: Complex Numbers
  2. Chapter 2: Matrices
  3. Chapter 3: Vectors
  4. Chapter 4: Vector Calculus
  5. Chapter 5: Tensors
  6. Chapter 6: Probability
  7. Chapter 7: The Fourier Transform
  8. Chapter 8: Waves
  9. Chapter 9: Classical Mechanices
  10. Chapter 10: Special Relativity
  11. Chapter 11: The Bloch Equations
  12. Chapter 12: Electromagnetic Fields
  13. Chapter 13: Quantum Mechanics
  14. Chapter 14: The NMR Hamiltonians
  15. Chapter 15: The Quantum Mechanics of Angular Momentum
  16. Chapter 16: Rotation Operators
  17. Chapter 17: Density Matrices and Operators
  18. Chapter 18: The Product Operator Formalism
  19. Chapter 19: Coherence Transfer
  20. Chapter 20: Relaxation
  21. Chapter 21: Data Processing
  22. Chapter 22: Pulsed Field Gradients
  23. Chapter 23: Electronics
  24. Appendix


  1. A tour of a spectrometer
  2. Magnet Shimming
  3. Pulse Programs
  4. Sample Preparation and Tube Cleaning
  5. Sensitivity Considerations
  6. How to do a 1D spectrum
  7. How to do a 2D spectrum
  8. Data analysis
  9. What The Parameters Mean
  10. Things not to do
  11. A Product Operator Calculator
  12. What is the sound of NMR?
  13. References
  14. The SSSC facilities
  15. The SSSC NMR workshop notes: