PNNL celebrates arrival of powerful NMR

RICHLAND, Wash.- The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory today celebrated the arrival of the world's largest, highest-performance nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer-a first-of-its-kind 900 megahertz (MHz) wide-bore system developed by Oxford Instruments and Varian Inc.

The 900 MHz wide-bore nuclear magnetic resonance, or NMR, spectrometer is a powerful scientific instrument that may enable scientists to make new discoveries in the chemical, physical, biological and life sciences. When operational, this unique system could enhance understanding of basic molecular and cellular processes and how those relate to damage or repair to DNA, disease development and protein interactions.

NMR spectrometers are similar to the magnetic resonance imagers commonly used in hospitals yet use much stronger magnetic fields and are able to study much smaller samples than the human body. NMR spectrometers allow scientists to determine the three-dimensional structure of molecules, viewing them atom-by-atom to obtain detailed structural pictures of complex proteins. These proteins may be associated with debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

"This spectrometer will be a state-of-the-art instrument that should enable us to gain new insight into biological phenomena and deliver breakthrough science and technology," according to PNNL Director Lura Powell.

Installation of the system will complete the suite of advanced instrumentation housed in the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE scientific user facility at PNNL. As a user instrument, the 900 MHz NMR will be available to other scientists through a competitive proposal process.

"We're proud to make this novel tool available to the worldwide scientific community. We want to share our capabilities so other scientists can make new discoveries important to us all," Powell said. "We appreciate the sustained effort by Oxf

Contact: Staci Maloof
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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