NMR Tubes with Interdigitated Electrodes for High-resolution in situ Electrochemical Reaction Monitoring

Categories: “Chemistry

Reference: # 2016-016

OTC Contact: Zeinab Abouissa M.S.
Phone: 202-687-2702
Email: zaa9@georgetown.edu


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is well-known as a powerful analytical too for obtaining both structural and quantitative information about chemical compounds. In situ methods relying on NMR are widespread throughout the field of organic chemistry due to their utility in simultaneously investigating reaction kinetics and identifying reaction intermediates. The operating principle of NMR is that chemical and physical properties of atoms and molecules can be probed through the interaction of nuclei with a strong magnetic field. Consequently, the sensitivity and specificity of NMR depend upon the strength of the magnetic field and its homogeneity. The latter of these creates a challenge when NMR is applied as an in situ monitor for electrochemical reactions, since these systems necessarily contain conductive materials such as metal electrodes and electrolytes that often lead to field inhomogeneity and result in a loss of sensitivity and specificity.

Researchers at Georgetown University’s Department of Chemistry have developed a solution to this problem, which is capable of being implemented on any commercial NMR instrument. This is accomplished through the use of a system of interdigitated electrodes with thin conductive coatings that are mounted in a standard NMR tube in a radially symmetric fashion. A schematic diagram of this electrochemical-NMR (EC-NMR) tube is shown below in Figure 1. Radial symmetry and minimized thickness of the conductors in the sample region of the NMR tube prevents significant distortion of the magnetic field, thus preserving sensitivity and specificity, while allowing electrolysis, redox, and other electrochemical reactions to be monitored in situ.

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of an electrochemical NMR (EC-NMR) sample tube.


Yuye Tong, Ph.D.
Eric Sorte, Ph.D.


U.S. Patent No. 10,948,441