University of Minnesota
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Infrastructure grant will be used to replace old NMR spectrometers

Four aging Department of Chemistry nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers will be replaced thanks to a $329,600 Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Program grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research. This grant will be matched with funds from the College of Science & Engineering and the Department of Chemistry.

The NMR replacement proposal was developed by Professor Christopher Douglas along with Letitia Yao, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry NMR facility director. The project involves replacing four aging or nonfunctioning NMR spectrometers and consolidating their workload onto two new 400 MHz NMR spectrometers. The current NMR spectrometers require frequent repairs. The new machines also will lower the use of non-renewable consumables like liquid helium.

NMR spectroscopy is invaluable for studying structure and dynamics of organic and inorganic compounds, and consolidating the research sample load onto two modern instruments directly serves the university’s research mission.

"These new instruments will improve the work of hundreds of researchers at the university," said Douglas. He said that the new NMR instruments will quickly acquire data that allow scientists to study new molecules, medicines, and materials at both lower and higher temperatures than currently possible.

"This significant upgrade of our NMR facility will have a tremendous impact on a variety of research projects in our department as well as others across the university, and represents a major improvement in NMR experimental capabilities," said William Tolman, Department of Chemistry chair. "Top-notch infrastructure improvements like this make a real difference as we seek to solve the most important problems in chemistry."

The modern NMR instruments also will keep Minnesota competitive in acquiring external research funding, and on the global research stage for years to come, said Douglas.

"I applaud the leadership of Christopher Douglas and Letitia Yao in driving this facility upgrade forward," said Tolman.

The Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Program awards are designed to facilitate interdisciplinary partnerships and strengthen the university’s research infrastructure. After a highly competitive and rigorous review progress, the OVPR awarded 12 grants amounting to $1.4 million. These grants represent almost $3 million worth of investment into research infrastructure at seven colleges, and three centers and institutes at the university.