Photochemical pump and NMR probe: Chemically created NMR coherence on a microsecond time scale

Olga Torres, Barbara Procacci, Meghan E. Halse, Ralph W. Adams, Damir Blazina, Simon B. Duckett*, Beatriz Eguillor, Richard A. Green, Robin N. Perutz, David C. Williamson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report pump-probe experiments employing laser-synchronized reactions of para-hydrogen (para-H2) with transition metal dihydride complexes in conjunction with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) detection. The pump-probe experiment consists of a single nanosecond laser pump pulse followed, after a precisely defined delay, by a single radio frequency (rf) probe pulse. Laser irradiation eliminates H2 from either Ru(PPh3) 3(CO)(H)2 1 or cis-Ru(dppe)2(H)2 2 in C6D6 solution. Reaction with para-H2 then regenerates 1 and 2 in a well-defined nuclear spin state. The rf probe pulse produces a high-resolution, single-scan 1H NMR spectrum that can be recorded after a pump-probe delay of just 10 μs. The evolution of the spectra can be followed as the pump-probe delay is increased by micro- or millisecond increments. Due to the sensitivity of this para-H2 experiment, the resulting NMR spectra can have hydride signal-to-noise ratios exceeding 750:1. The spectra of 1 oscillate in amplitude with frequency 1101 ± 3 Hz, the chemical shift difference between the chemically inequivalent hydrides. The corresponding hydride signals of 2 oscillate with frequency 83 ± 5 Hz, which matches the difference between couplings of the hydrides to the equatorial 31P nuclei. We use the product operator formalism to show that this oscillatory behavior arises from a magnetic coherence in the plane orthogonal to the magnetic field that is generated by use of the laser pulse without rf initialization. In addition, we demonstrate how chemical shift imaging can differentiate the region of laser irradiation thereby distinguishing between thermal and photochemical reactivity within the NMR tube.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10124-10131
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number28
Early online date19 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2014

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© 2014 American Chemical Society. This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.

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