NMR spectroscopy is a powerful analytical technique to determine chemical structure, but the technology lags other forms of spectroscopy with respect to size, weight, cost, and portability. Conventional high-field NMR employs large superconducting magnets that require liquid cryogens. Conversely, permanent magnet-based benchtop spectrometers could be portable but are heavy and suffer from resolution issues based on large line broadening intrinsic to magnetic field limitations. There is a strict tradeoff between portability and resolution in NMR systems.
To bridge these issues, the Los Alamos National Laboratory team created ERDE, a class of portable NMR spectrometers that leverage Earth’s magnetic field. By using Earth’s magnetic field, instrumentation demands are minimized and unique high-resolution (<0.1 Hz) spectra are observable. ERDE offers portable structure determination of molecules with no background interference in a matter of seconds. ERDE revolutionizes fieldable NMR analysis with far-reaching applications for the fields of environmental sensing, through-pipe sensing, catalysis, chemical analysis, toxic chemical detection and more.