David Apperley, Robin Harris and Paul Hodgkinson
2012 | 275pp | £59.99
Reviewed by Michal Leskes
I’m often asked ‘What is a good starting point to learn about solid state NMR?’ When students make their first steps into this world, their only prior experience is usually an undergraduate course. Intrigued by the idea of playing with nuclear spins to gain chemical insight, they move into the rich world of studying solids using nuclear magnetic resonance. This field is full of quantum mechanical interactions, oscillating Hamiltonians and rotating samples, which can make one’s own head spin. However, the complexity of the measurement and its interpretation are worth the effort, providing a unique probe of structure and dynamics.
To extract the information, practical skills are required as well as theoretical understanding. Often, the literature on solid state NMR is either very heavy – the reader is led through all the quantum mechanical derivations – or is oversimplified. This book finds a good balance, offering an excellent starting point for your first (and second) step into solid state NMR.
The book first considers different types of solids and their properties, followed by a detailed survey of the main NMR interactions and phenomena that govern the spectra. Following these general concepts, a very detailed practical guide is provided that is extremely useful for learning how to set up the experiments properly. The theoretical tools required to understand and analyse spectra in the solid state are then elaborated, providing the means to comprehend the chapters on more advanced techniques. The experimental description is often accompanied by a general derivation of the most important equations, giving an accessible explanation of the theory as well as tips on various phenomena that can be encountered. The chapters can be read independently, making it a good reference for experts too.
So now I can answer that opening question by recommending this book. And even NMR veterans might benefit by refreshing or expanding their solid state NMR toolbox.