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Friday, September 16, 2011

Probe Tuning and 90 Degree Pulses

In order to get meaningful results from multiple-pulse NMR pulse sequences, it is essential that the 90° and 180° pulses are calibrated at the power levels used in the sequences (see this post for example). The calibrations are usually done on a standard sample in a well tuned and matched probe. The calibrations are typically stored in a file which is called up when setting up particular NMR experiments. It is important to know that these calibrations are correct for the particular sample of interest only when the probe is well tuned and matched. For samples of high ionic strength, it may not be possible to properly tune and match the probe and the 90° and 180° pulses for these samples will be longer than those previously calibrated, resulting in questionable data. In these cases, the pulses must be calibrated on the problematic sample. The figure below addresses the question of how important proper tuning and matching are with respect to the 90° pulse duration. The 1H 90° pulses for a sample HDO in a 500 MHz broadband probe were measured by the fast nutation method for various states of probe tuning and matching. In the left-hand side of the figure, pulses were calibrated for a perfectly matched probe as a function of tuning frequency. One can see that the 90° pulse is at a minimum when the probe is perfectly tuned and increases as the probe is detuned in either direction. In the right-hand side of the figure, pulses were calibrated for a perfectly tuned probe as a function of probe mismatch. One can see that the 90° pulse is at a minimum in a perfectly matched probe and increases as a function of the degree of mismatch (in units of screen divisions on the spectrometer display). It is interesting to note that the 90° pulse duration is more forgiving to mismatch than to errors in probe tuning.

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