The University of Barcelona (UB) recently presented a new infrastructure that is unique in Europe. It is a very high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer.
It uses high-temperature superconductors, at a cost of almost 9 million euros, and is capable of creating a magnetic field 500,000 times more intense than that of the Earth.
NMR technology is applied in research areas such as chemistry, biology and biomedicine.
It is also instrumental in studying the characteristics of molecules and detecting drug-receptor interactions.
And mainly to identify new therapeutic targets in order to design drugs to fight diseases.
The team’s contributions
Unlike other technologies such as infrared, the NMR technique requires a very strong magnetic field.
If, for example, the structure of aspirin needs to be determined, but there is no magnetic field, it cannot be done.
This is explained by Dr. Francisco Cárdenas, head of the NMR unit at the CCiTUB (Centres Científics i Tecnològics de la UB), which houses the new infrastructure.
The magnetic properties of atoms can only be detected in the presence of a magnetic field, which makes it a prerequisite.
More and more magnets are being built with larger magnetic fields, and the magnetic field of the new 23.5 Tesla device is 500,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field.
In which fields is nuclear magnetic resonance applied?
This technology is applied in research areas such as biomedicine, chemistry and biology.
It is capable of detecting drug-receptor interactions and identifying new therapeutic targets that facilitate the design of drugs to fight diseases.
The new device is the first in Europe, and the second in the world after Japan, to use superconductors to generate magnetic fields in a 1GHz NMR instrument.
This saves considerable time in research. With this new breakthrough, an experiment that used to take a week to develop with 800 MHz equipment can now, thanks to the equipment, be solved in a single day.
Scientists demanded higher magnetic fields for their projects, which can now be achieved thanks to the nuclear magnetic resonance equipment.
The University of Barcelona presents a nuclear magnetic resonance device, unique on the continent and capable of creating a magnetic field 500,000 times more intense than that of the Earth.
The equipment cost almost 9 million euros, is a pioneer in Europe and is located at the UB’s Parc Científic de Barcelona.
This pioneering breakthrough represents major contributions to health, particularly in the design of drugs to tackle diseases.