Micro/Nano-NMR/MRI and hardware development

Sander Baas MSc
Floris Dekker MSc
Dr. Tatiana Nikolaeva
Dr. Vittorio Saggiomo
Dr. Julia Krug
Prof. Dr. Aldrik Velders

Micro- and Nano-NMR is the development of very small and sensitive coils and chips that allow for various NMR experiments on tiny volumes of sample. The miniaturization of these NMR-coils and their incorporation in chips, allows the development of relatively cheap and very versatile measuring capabilities with some unexpected characteristics.

One of the applications of these developments is studying catalytic conversion in a microreactor. For the ananlysis of the outcome of a microreactor you can choose to analyse the samples collected from the outlet (end detection). A more relevant measurement of the conversion would be to study the conditions within the channel directly (in situ) and on-flow. During this project, we develop a micro-NMR probe to directly measure the microliter volumes inside a microreactor coated with catalytic nanoparticles. As model reaction hydrogenation will be studied under mild conditions. The combination of micro-NMR and a catalyst-coated microreactor has not been tried before and may well contribute to the rational development of new catalysts.

In a joint European project we will work on hyperpolarization techniques to boost the usually very low signal intensity in NMR. By using various methods, polarization transfer can lead to a vastly increased observed NMR signal intensity. At BioNanoTechnology this effort will be combined with the design and production of NMR microcoils in order to improve the mass sensitivity of NMR experiments down to the femtomole level. The development of this technique will allow detection of not only mass-limited but also concentration-limited  analytes, as well as reduced measurement times.