JAMES HOLMES / CELLTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES HOLMES / CELLTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
NMR chemical spectroscopy: scientists working with a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. The NMR fingerprint spectrum of the sample under investigation, a carboxylic acid, appears as the series of peaks on the screen. NMR depends on certain nuclei having the nuclear property of "spin", the ability to generate a small magnetic field. When placed within a strong magnetic field, such nuclei wobble (precess) at a particular frequency, which varies according to environment. This is exploited in analytical chemistry, where protons in different groups display differing precession frequencies.
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