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PMBRC establishes solid state NMR capability

Solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (SS-NMR) capability has been established at the PMBRC following a programme of training and experimentation carried out over the last 3 months. Dr. Sarah Hudson, the postdoctoral researcher at the PMBRC who led the effort, said: "SS-NMR is a very valuable technique in pharmaceutical analysis. In traditional solution phase NMR the sample must be dissolved in a solvent prior to analysis. Once in solution however important properties such as crystalline form or excipient interactions are lost. In addition, many of the materials we would like to study are insoluble in a suitable solvent. SS-NMR allows us to study the properties of these materials in their native state in a non-destructive manner".

As part of the programme Dr. Hudson travelled to the laboratories of Prof. Eric Munson, a world renowned expert in the field of SS-NMR at the University of Kansas. There followed an intense period of training and experimentation with three applications experts from Jeol (the equipment manufacturer) spending a week in WIT. "To date we have used the solid state probe to study monomer distributions in synthesised polymers; crosslink density and molecular motions in hydrogels; functional groups on inorganic structures; different polymorphic forms of pharmaceuticals and their inter-conversion at different temperatures; and crystalline and amorphous drug content in drug formulations".

The solid state system consists of a 3.2 mm rotor probe in a JNM-ECX400 magnet. Samples are packed into small sample tubes (rotors) and spun at high speeds (up to 20 kHz). Different nuclei can be selected and used as probes to understand the chemical structure and interactions of polymers, drugs, and living tissue. Switch over between solution and solid state NMR takes less than one hour. For more information please contact Sarah at shudson@wit.ie or at +353-51-834 126.