Newsletter 1 – Pulsed NMR Imaging - An Introduction
A Hands-On Spectrometer
In 1994 TeachSpin launched PS1-A, the first Pulsed NMR spectrometer designed specifically for teaching. Currently, over 150 institutions world-wide are using TeachSpin Pulsed NMR systems to introduce their students to this important technology. (The very first instrument delivered is still in continuous use by students in Carnegie Mellon's advanced physics lab.) When key electronic components became obsolete, TeachSpin decided that the time had come to create an entirely new system, incorporating some of the capabilities most often suggested by our "constituency." These include higher fields, higher homogeneity and gradient coils to enable students to study diffusion and one dimensional imaging. A proprietary temperature control system allows for field stability of one part in a million over a twenty minute interval.
In addition to samples such as mineral oil and glycerin, which contain hydrogen nuclei, TeachSpin provides a set of safe liquids containing fluorine nuclei. You need only supply the oscilloscope and your students will be ready to learn the fundamentals of both CW and pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. And, having mastered the fundamentals, students can use this Pulsed/CW NMR spectrometer to obtain research grade data on the magnetic resonance properties of not only liquids but also soft solids containing hydrogen or fluorine nuclei.
TeachSpin PS2-B continues in the tradition of PS1 in providing an opportunity for students to manipulate directly all aspects of their measurements. Automated, computer mediated processes, while efficient for making some kinds of measurements, do not allow students to develop an intimate understanding of the interrelations between the components or to make the mistakes that often lead to the most memorable learning. Designed by university faculty who have dedicated their careers to both experimental physics and advanced laboratory instruction, PS2-B is the ideal introduction to both Pulsed NMR and CW NMR. And its capability for research grade measurements allows students to use this apparatus for wide ranging independent explorations.
With the current explosion of research and medical applications of NMR, it is crucial that students be given an opportunity for developing a deep understanding of the basic principles of this unique and important spectroscopy. Our next generation of experimentalists, from physicists to chemists, and from biologists to electrical engineers will be empowered by the conceptual and quantitative insights gained from hands on explorations with PS2-B.
PS2-B is the result of two year development collaboration by the designers of the original PS1-1. Jonathan Reichert, President of TeachSpin and Professor Emeritus of SUNY Buffalo converted his original crossed coil sample probe into its new single coil design. Using a single coil both improved field homogeneity over the sample and provided space for shim/gradient coils. Dr. George Herold, TeachSpin Senior Scientist and Dr. Reichert designed the magnet structure and temperature control system which gives the world's first "wooden magnet" a field stability of one part per million over 20 minutes. Professor David Van Baak of Calvin College, and a TeachSpin Collaborating Physicist, designed the field gradient coil system.
The electronics system, a true tour-de-force, was designed by Dr. Norman Jarosik of the Princeton University Physics Department. His 1992 design for the electronics of TeachSpin's flagship PS1 series is responsible for its well deserved world-wide reputation for reliability, as well as sensitivity. Norman is a staff scientist in the "gravity Group" and the chief engineer of WMAP, the satellite that has been sensing and mapping the anisotropies in the microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang of the early universe. It should come as no surprise to owners of PS1 that the satellite has far exceeded its expected lifetime.