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Zero- to Ultralow-Field NMR Spectroscopy of Small Biomolecules

submitted on 07.11.2020, 13:32 and posted on 09.11.2020, 13:30 by Piotr Put, Szymon Pustelny, Dmitry Budker, Emmanuel Druga, Tobias Sjolander, Alexander Pines, Danila Barskiy

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a well-established analytical technique used to study chemicals and their transformations. However, high-eld NMR spectroscopy necessitates advanced infrastructure and even cryogen-free benchtop NMR spectrometers cannot be readily assembled from commercially available components. We demonstrate construction of a portable zero-field NMR spectrometer employing a commercially available magnetometer and investigate its applications in analytical chemistry. In particular, J-spectra of small representative biomolecules [13C]-formic acid, [1-13C]-glycine, [2,3-13C]-fumarate, and [1-13C]-D-glucose were acquired and an approach relying on the presence of a transverse magnetic eld during the detection was investigated for relaxometry purposes. We found that water relaxation time strongly depends on the concentration of dissolved D-glucose in the range of 1-10 mM suggesting opportunities for indirect assessment of glucose concentration in aqueous solutions. Extending analytical capabilities of zero-field NMR to aqueous solutions of simple biomolecules (aminoacids, sugars and metabolites) and relaxation studies of aqueous solutions of glucose highlight the analytical potential of non-invasive and portable ZULF NMR sensors for applications outside of research laboratories.


NSF CHE- 1709944

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the framework of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

Funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research

National Science Centre, Poland within the OPUS program (Project No. 2015/19/B/ST2/02129)

Cluster of Excellence Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions, and Structure of Matter (PRISMA+ EXC 2118/1) funded by the DFG within the German Excellence Strategy (Project ID 39083149)


Email Address of Submitting Author


Helmholtz-Institut Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest