Nature Communications Paper

SHARPER-DOSY: Publication of a new NMR methodology for enhanced sensitivity

A new paper published by the Uhrín group in Nature Communications reports a novel, sensitivity enhanced NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy technique called SHARPER-DOSY (Sensitivity Enhanced Diffusion-Ordered NMR Spectroscopy).

NMR spectroscopy is a powerful analytical technique used in many branches of chemistry, biology and physics to study the structure and dynamics of molecules. Reducing the amount of material or the time needed to measure the spectra has remained one of the major challenges facing NMR.

DOSY is a specialized application of NMR that allows researchers to study the diffusion of molecules in solution. One of the key challenges in DOSY experiments is achieving high sensitivity, especially when dealing with low-concentration samples. The SHARPER-DOSY technique addresses this issue by incorporating innovative signal enhancement strategies to amplify NMR signals, making it possible to determine diffusion coefficients of a medium-size organic molecule in a matter of minutes with as little as 1 µg of material.

In this method, parts or the whole NMR spectra are collapsed into a one singlet that can report on the quantity of the compound present or on a molecular property. The NMR signal obtained by this technique is very intense and narrow, hence its name: SHARPER NMR.

Drawing on decades of working in NMR, Prof Dušan Uhrín is pioneering experiments that have the potential to enhance the sensitivity of some NMR experiments by one or two orders of magnitude without the need for additional hardware.

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We and our collaborators are excited about the prospects of reducing the time it takes to obtain certain NMR spectra from hours to minutes, or alternatively, reducing the demands on sample quantity from milligrams to tens of micrograms. We believe that the SHARPER technique will have numerous applications across the fields of structure determination, reaction monitoring, in studies of molecular interactions, environmental pollutants, biofluids or foods and beverages.