JOHN MCLEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN MCLEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Test tubes in an NMR spectrometer. NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometers are used to analyse chemicals and identify their constituent chemicals. They exploit the behaviour of certain atomic nuclei when they are placed in a magnetic field. A hydrogen nucleus, for example, resonates at a specific frequency according to the strength of the magnetic field. This frequency can be measured, and can provide details of a compound's structure.
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