A consortium led by the University of Warwick has been awarded £17M to procure the UK’s most powerful Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) instrument at 1.2 GHz. There are only seven such machines currently operating around the world. The funds have been awarded to a consortium of six UK Universities through the UKRI Infrastructure Fund. Other Universities in the consortium are Lancaster, Liverpool, Nottingham, Southampton and St Andrews.
In the UK and at Warwick University, researchers are using NMR technology to improve green infrastructure by 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 anti-microbial resistance and drug design and delivery. Scientists from around the country will be able to use the facility and 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, commented: “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.”
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 EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation said: “This national facility, one of only seven 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.”
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance instruments are used to analyse complex materials to work out their structure. This is done using magnets that are about one 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 two 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.
This article was first published on 16 December by Warwick University.