Ultrafast NMR T1 Relaxation Measurements: Probing Molecular Properties in Real Time



The longitudinal relaxation properties of NMR active nuclei carry useful information about the site-specific chemical environments and about the mobility of molecular fragments. Molecular mobility is in turn a key parameter reporting both on stable properties, such as size, as well as on dynamic ones, such as transient interactions and irreversible aggregation. In order to fully investigate the latter, a fast sampling of the relaxation parameters of transiently formed molecular species may be needed. Nevertheless, the acquisition of longitudinal relaxation data is typically slow, being limited by the requirement that the time for which the nucleus relaxes be varied incrementally until a complete build-up curve is generated. Recently, a number of single-shot-inversion-recovery methods have been developed capable of alleviating this need; still, these may be challenged by either spectral resolution restrictions or when coping with very fast relaxing nuclei. Here, we present a new experiment to measure the T1s of multiple nuclear spins that experience fast longitudinal relaxation, while retaining full high-resolution chemical shift information. Good agreement is observed between T1s measured with conventional means and T1s measured using the new technique. The method is applied to the real-time investigation of the reaction between D-xylose and sodium borate, which is in turn elucidated with the aid of ancillary ultrafast and conventional 2D TOCSY measurements.