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J Magn Reson. 2009 Jul;199(1):25-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Optical detection of NMR J-spectra at zero magnetic field.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7300, USA. ledbetter@berkeley.edu


Scalar couplings of the form JI(1) x I(2) between nuclei impart valuable information about molecular structure to nuclear magnetic-resonance spectra. Here we demonstrate direct detection of J-spectra due to both heteronuclear and homonuclear J-coupling in a zero-field environment where the Zeeman interaction is completely absent. We show that characteristic functional groups exhibit distinct spectra with straightforward interpretation for chemical identification. Detection is performed with a microfabricated optical atomic magnetometer, providing high sensitivity to samples of microliter volumes. We obtain 0.1 Hz linewidths and measure scalar-coupling parameters with 4-mHz statistical uncertainty. We anticipate that the technique described here will provide a new modality for high-precision "J spectroscopy" using small samples on microchip devices for multiplexed screening, assaying, and sample identification in chemistry and biomedicine.

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