How sensitive and accurate are routine NMR and MS instruments?

January 12, 2016, Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry
Figure 1. Mind map for spectral measurements.

Just a decade or two ago, NMR and MS measurements were more difficult to carry out, and the instruments were primarily operated by highly qualified, dedicated personnel. Since that time, the paradigm has changed dramatically.

Researchers have made significant advances in spectral instrumentation. NMR and MS have become ubiquitous research tools for life sciences, chemistry, catalysis, material science and engineering applications. Furthermore, a wave of progress in software development further advanced spectral technologies. Currently, a complicated NMR or MS machine can be easily operated via personal computer, iPad or even a smartphone. Upon completion of a short training session, graduate and undergraduate students can measure spectral data themselves.

However, an increasing number of spectral errors, inconsistent measurements and misinterpretations have recently appeared in the modern literature, representing a serious side effect. Often, inconsistent spectral data can be found in the supporting information of research articles that deal with chemistry and . Further inconsistencies are possible as more complicated instruments become commonly available.

Figure 2. Four not so simple cases of apparently "simple" measurements.

A group of researchers from Zelinsky Institute have addressed technical questions concerning routine analytic characterization and provided a concise description of the most important features regarding the accuracy and sensitivity of NMR, EI-MS and ESI-MS measurements. They document "must knows" that are necessary in order to achieve reliable measurements. Although the principles of these analytic measurements are fairly well known, common mistakes are often made during routine spectral studies.

Explore further: Latest NIST Mass Spectral Library: Expanded coverage, features

More information: Andrey M. Tsedilin et al. How Sensitive and Accurate are Routine NMR and MS Measurements?, Mendeleev Communications (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.mencom.2015.11.019

Related Stories

NMR 'fingerprinting' for monoclonal antibodies

April 15, 2015

National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research have demonstrated the most precise method yet to measure the structural configuration of monoclonal antibodies ...

Spot the chemical difference

June 27, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Scientists at Kew have devised a method to distinguish similar flavonoids when chemically profiling plant extracts.

Recommended for you

Pigments in oil paintings linked to artwork degradation

January 17, 2018

Experts have long known that as oil paintings age, soaps can form within the paint, degrading the appearance of the artworks. The process significantly complicates the preservation of oil paintings—and cultural manifestations, ...

Designing the next generation of hair dyes

January 17, 2018

North Carolina State University researchers have created the largest publicly available chemical database of hair dye substances as a resource for developing a new generation of hair color products that are safer for consumers, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.