Everyone must have a “driver’s license” for a specific instrument to have hands-on access to that instrument. The license is obtained when you successfully complete training for that instrument. There are several levels of NMR training. Training for the Varian Unity-300 and Bruker AVIII-400 instruments is done in undergraduate course groups (Chem 412, 446 and 447). Our entry-level instrument for research NMR use is the Bruker AVIII-400. This instrument is operated in automation mode, with the quickest and easiest training. More advanced training is available for the Bruker DRX-500, a non-automated instrument used mostly for routine 1D spectra. Experienced users of the DRX-500 can be trained individually to use the Bruker DRX-600 in a quick informal session since the instrument is similar to the Bruker DRX-500. Training on the Varian Inova-600 is tailored to two groups of users: Chemistry (small molecule covalent structure determination) and Biological (13C and 15N labeled proteins and nucleic acids). NMR training is “practically” free: you only have to pay for the NMR time you use on the instrument during your “driver’s test”. Typically this would be 1½ hours, which currently costs $15.00. This will be charged to your research group.
NMR training is now done exclusively in small group demonstrations ("demos"). Typically a demo is 1 to 1.5 hours in a group of 3-5 students at the NMR instrument. The instructor (NMR facility manager, assistant manager or one of the NMR facility graduate RA's) gives a brief tour of the instrument and then demonstrates how to insert the sample and obtain a 1H, 13C and DEPT spectrum of a standard sample (usually cholesterol in CDCl3). At the end of the demo each student is scheduled for an individual "driver's test" (1.5 hours). At that time the student works independently to acquire the same spectra of the same standard sample, using their NMR account with time billed to their research group. One of the NMR facility personnel will be there to assist. The student then brings the printed NMR spectra to Dr. Jacobsen in his office and they discuss the results. If the data look good, the student has a driver's license for that instrument. Training is a bit different for the automated (AVIII-400) NMR instrument. The demo is divided between 1/2 hour at the instrument and 1/2 hour at a remote computer to demonstrate downloading data and data processing using MestReNova software. There is no driver's test: completing the demo gives you a driver's license.
The Graduate Synthesis / NMR Course (Fall Semester)
Another way to get NMR training is to attend Chemistry 545, a graduate laboratory course. This course has a wet lab that teaches modern advanced synthetic chemistry techniques. All of the reaction products and many of the reagents are characterized by NMR. The NMR portion of the course covers all of the 1D and 2D experiments used for elucidation of structure in solution. Upon successful completion of this course you will have a license for hands-on operation of the Bruker AVIII-400, Bruker DRX-500 and Bruker DRX-600 instruments.