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J Magn Reson. 2013 Mar;228:16-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2012.12.007. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

The Fantastic Four: A plug 'n' play set of optimal control pulses for enhancing NMR spectroscopy.

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Department of Chemistry, Technische Universität München, Lichtenbergstrasse 4, D-85747 Garching, Germany.


We present highly robust, optimal control-based shaped pulses designed to replace all 90° and 180° hard pulses in a given pulse sequence for improved performance. Special attention was devoted to ensuring that the pulses can be simply substituted in a one-to-one fashion for the original hard pulses without any additional modification of the existing sequence. The set of four pulses for each nucleus therefore consists of 90° and 180° point-to-point (PP) and universal rotation (UR) pulses of identical duration. These 1ms pulses provide uniform performance over resonance offsets of 20kHz ((1)H) and 35kHz ((13)C) and tolerate reasonably large radio frequency (RF) inhomogeneity/miscalibration of ±15% ((1)H) and ±10% ((13)C), making them especially suitable for NMR of small-to-medium-sized molecules (for which relaxation effects during the pulse are negligible) at an accessible and widely utilized spectrometer field strength of 600MHz. The experimental performance of conventional hard-pulse sequences is shown to be greatly improved by incorporating the new pulses, each set referred to as the Fantastic Four (Fanta4).

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