MSL: Molecular Structure Laboratory
The Molecular Structure Laboratory will support and house a 500 MHz multi-user Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer with remote access capability that will be used by researchers in the Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Anthropology and Pharmaceutical Sciences departments. Proposals to fund the purchase of a high-field NMR have been submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities: Departmental Multi-User Instrumentation (CRIF:MU) and to the NSF Collaborative Research in Chemistry (CRC) programs.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, commonly referred to as NMR, has become the preeminent technique for determining the structure of organic molecules. Of all the molecular spectroscopic methods, it is the only one for which a complete analysis can be obtained in a single experiment. NMR spectroscopy is non-destructive and excellent data may be obtained from samples weighing less than a milligram. At present, NMR spectroscopy is the only technique that can provide detailed solution structure of small proteins and polynucleotides. Due to the noninvasive character of the main interactions, NMR is very suitable for in vivo studies. It provides information on the composition and concentration of metabolites in body fluids, cells, tissues, and organs. In vivo NMR spectra are very useful for monitoring subtle metabolic changes. Much of the recent innovation within NMR spectroscopy has been within the field of protein NMR, which has become the premier technique in structural or molecular biology. Further, and critical to our collaborative center, NMR is a useful analytical tool for the examination of archaeological artifacts. This information is complementary to that from infrared and mass spectrometry. It is most useful in the overall analysis of insoluble, nonvolatile mixtures of compounds, since other techniques sample selectively. NMR can be used to identify sources of raw materials, verify artifact authenticity, delineate ancient technology, and specify ancient diet.
The molecular structure determination capability of the NMR within the Molecular Structure Laboratory perfectly compliments the elemental analysis afforded within the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Elemental and Isotopic Analysis.