Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Nitrogen Pressure and Spectral Resolution
Super-conducting NMR magnets are cooled with liquid helium. The boil off rate of the liquid helium is minimized by surrounding it with a high vacuum and a liquid nitrogen cryostat. The liquid nitrogen cryostat may either be vented directly to the atmosphere or it may be maintained at a pressure slightly above atmospheric pressure with the use of pressure relief valves. NMR users should be aware that the homogeneity of an NMR magnet is affected drastically by the pressure in the liquid nitrogen cryostat. The left-hand panel of the figure below shows a well resolved 400 MHz 1H NMR spectrum of the methyl triplet of ethylbenzene in a well shimmed magnet where the nitrogen cryostat was maintained slightly above atmospheric pressure with pressure relief valves for several days. The spectrum in the right-hand panel was run under identical conditions after the cap to the nitrogen fill port was removed, relieving the pressure in the nitrogen cryostat.