Press Release No. 54 | 31 October 2011
Novel Magnetic-Resonance Technology Gives More Accurate Insights into the Structure of Matter
DFG to Fund Three DNP-NMR Devices for the Life Sciences and Materials Sciences
With support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) three German universities are to obtain innovative DNP-NMR equipment for use in the life sciences and materials sciences. As part of an ongoing major instrumentation initiative, a sum of almost five million euros is available to provide this new and highly promising technology at the Universities of Darmstadt, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt. The three proposals were chosen from seven funding applications by the Joint Committee of the DFG in October, following an international review process.
The key feature of the "Dynamic Nuclear Polarization – Nuclear Magnetic Resonance“ (DNP-NMR) technology is the combination of solid-state NMR spectroscopy with intensive high-frequency irradiation of the samples during the measurement. This technique increases the sensitivity of the NMR measurement by approximately two orders of magnitude and so allows completely new categories of samples to be investigated. In contrast to other approaches to more sensitive NMR measurements, the new method now being funded enables continuous DNP amplification for the first time, and thereby affords wider application in a range of different scientific fields. This means that the DNP-NMR technique may facilitate a better understanding of the interactions taking place on the molecular level.
In the life sciences, for example, it enables researchers to carry out structural investigations of macromolecular complexes or structural-function studies on membrane protein complexes. In materials science this instrumentation can be used for studying composite materials, glasses or inhomogeneous polymers, among others.
The equipment to be funded by the DFG is thus intended to contribute to exploiting and evaluating the potential of the DNP-NMR technology. At all funded sites, measurement time will be available for external users, for which they will be expected to pay a share of the running costs.