Powerful new instrument to advance study of molecules

Abstract nano molecular structure

A powerful new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) instrument will be used to improve battery design and drug design, and lead antimicrobial resistance research.

The new instrument will be the UK’s most powerful NMR instrument at 1.2 GHz and 1 of only 7 such machines currently operating around the world.

It will be procured by a consortium led by the University of Warwick and involving the universities of:

  • Lancaster
  • Liverpool
  • Nottingham
  • Southampton
  • St Andrews

Supporting essential infrastructure

The consortium has been awarded £17 million through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund.

The fund is designed to support the facilities, equipment and resources that are essential for researchers and innovators to do ground-breaking work.

In the UK and at The University of Warwick, researchers are using NMR technology to improve green infrastructure. They are expanding their knowledge of how to make more efficient plant biofuels, to improve batteries and solar cells.

The instrument will also be used in research on antimicrobial resistance and drug design and delivery.

Invaluable experience

Scientists from around the country will be able to use the facility.

Students at Warwick and other universities will gain invaluable experience on the state-of-the-art NMR instrument enabling them to compete at the cutting edge of scientific research.

Professor Steven Brown, from The University of Warwick’s Solid State NMR Group, said:

It is exciting that Warwick has been selected as the site for this world-class NMR instrumentation.

I look forward to working with the consortium partners and the UK community to deliver this world-class resource for UK science.

Greatest resolution and sensitivity yet

Professor Caroline Meyer, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at The University of Warwick, said:

This instrument will provide the greatest resolution and sensitivity yet, allowing us to make scientific breakthroughs that will benefit us all as they improve our technology in a range of areas.

Jane Nicholson, Research Base Director at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UKRI said:

This national facility, 1 of only 7 1.2 GHz magnets in the world, will advance the study of all types of molecules.

The applications will be many and varied with the potential for new insights into areas such as materials for energy applications, catalysis, pharmaceutical research, synthetic biology and antimicrobial resistance.

Analysing the structure of complex materials

NMR instruments are used to analyse complex materials to work out their structure.

This is done using magnets that are about 1 million times more powerful than the Earth’s magnetic field.

They work on the magnetic field of each atom in the material being investigated and provide detailed information on the atomic-level structure of that material.

The 1.2 GHz NMR spectrometer will be housed in a new building and will create 2 new jobs for scientists.

It builds upon current capability at 1.0 GHz at the Warwick-hosted UK High-Field Solid-State NMR National Research Facility.

Top image:  Credit: Vertigo3d, E+ via Getty Images

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