magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a versatile experimental technique
that can provide detailed information on a sample's structure and dynamics,
down to the atomic level.
Our world in minute detail
NMR is quantitative, non-destructive, and can be used to study solids, liquids or gases. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is based on the same principles, but results in spatially-resolved images rather than frequency-domain spectra. At Deakin we use both NMR and MRI to solve a diverse range of problems
in chemistry and materials science. Some of our research areas are outlined below.
Solid-state NMR methods development
As well as
applying a diverse range of modern NMR techniques to characterise advanced
materials, we are also developing new NMR methodologies. In particular we are
interested in studying some of the more unusual or exotic nuclei that are not
routinely observed by NMR, such as 14N. These are often more
difficult to deal with than 'standard' nuclei such as 13C, and
generally require advanced experimental methods, but they also bring their own
advantages and can provide unique information.
Structure, dynamics and ion transport in electromaterials
electrolyte materials such as organic ionic plastic crystals can exhibit
complex phase behaviour and numerous dynamic processes. NMR line widths
obtained from such samples can be analysed to obtain dynamic rates and
geometries, telling us how the various molecules are moving in relation to each
other in each phase of the sample. Relaxation or diffusion measurements can
also allow ion transport to be observed and quantified. This information allows
us to design improved materials for applications in energy storage devices,
such as safer, more efficient and more sustainable batteries.
Magnetic resonance micro-imaging
The use of
magnetic resonance imaging to study electrochemical cells in situ as they are
being charged and discharged is a very recent concept, and at Deakin we are
currently developing new techniques and applications in this area. This will
allow an unprecedented insight into the physical and chemical processes
occurring in the cells, and will contribute to the development of longer
lasting and more efficient batteries.
Researchers from Deakin's School of Life and Environmental Sciences use solution-state NMR to identify atomic interactions within host-guest complexes. For example, the isotherms generated from a 1H NMR titration can be used to quantify these interactions via an association constant; a measure of how 'tightly' the host interacts with the guest. Such information is crucial in the study of capture agents and selective sensors for species such as fluoride.
Magnetic Resonance facility at Deakin's Geelong Waurn Ponds campus is
equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation for the detailed
characterisation of molecules and materials.