NMR Facility - Chemistry Department

Welcome to the NMR Facility!

The Chemistry Department’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility serves the entire UChicago community and beyond.

Usage Model

The Chemistry NMR Facility is an open-access recharge-based core facility. Users are trained by facility staff to operate the instruments independently. Samples are not submitted to facility staff, but the Facility Manager is available for special requests and scientific collaboration. Principal Investigators (professors, course directors) pay for instrument usage on a time-based rate schedule.

The Facility & Equipment

Our facility spans three locations, supporting a total of five NMR spectrometers and one EPR spectrometer

Main lab & manager’s office: Searle 340F  (Two 500 and one 400 MHz NMR instruments)
Gordon Center Lab: GCIS E340  (One 500 and one 400 MHz NMR instruments)
EPR Lab: Jones 103. (One X-band EPR instrument)


Facility staff provide training to operate the instruments, process data, and prepare samples. We hold two types of regular training: Level1 covers use of the autosampler-equipped spectrometers, and Level2 covers manual operation of the other spectrometers. Under COVID, all training is conducted one-one-one with the facility manager, and scheduling is arranged on an individual basis. Training for specific techniques (such as “variable temperature” operation) is available by arrangement with the facility manager.


Automated operation - Level1 training

“I put my samples in the robot so I can return to the bench while the spectrometer acquires high-quality routine data for me.”

Manual operation - Level2 training

“I walk up to the instrument and operate it manually to get a quick routine spectrum or two.”

Intensive operation - Level2 training, optional training

“I reserve instrument time for an extended period, then use it to manually run experiments that require extra attention and time. I may leave it to run unattended for several hours, perhaps at high or low temperature.”


Autoshim – Important for Long Experiments

Autoshim – Important for Long Experiments

Here’s a tip for you when acquiring long experiments manually: use the Autoshim feature. Located in the BSMS control window, clicking “Start” will ensure your shim quality stays good over long periods (~4+ hours). But when you’re done, be sure to click “Start” again to toggle it off, or else it’ll continue operating when the next user is trying to run, which will surprise them and give them inconvenience.

Success with the “-opt” 2D experiments in automation

The most common 2D experiments on the automated systems work best if you choose the one whose names end in “-opt”; these experiments examine a preliminary PROTON8 experiment and reset the 1H spectrum window in the 2D so you get the best resolution. It’s very easy to set up, but things can go wrong if you make changes or decide you need a 2D after the 1H 1D has already been acquired. Here are some tips for success.

1D NOESY made easy

1D NOESY made easy

Many chemical structure questions can be answered with 1H-1H distance estimates derived from the 1D NOESY experiment. There are a variety of ways to set up this experiment, but we now have two short videos that UChicago users can access with their phones at the spectrometer – no homework or special prep required.