Nuclear Overhauser effect

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In magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the transfer of spin polarization from one spin population to another via cross-relaxation is generally called the Overhauser Effect, after American physicist Albert Overhauser who hypothesized it while a postgraduate student in the early 1950s. The phenomenon was demonstrated experimentally by C. P. Slichter and T. R. Carver in 1953. The original Overhauser effect was described in terms of polarization transfer between electron and nuclear spins, but is now mostly used for transfer between nuclear spins—the Nuclear Overhauser Effect (NOE or nOe). A very common application is NOESY (Nuclear Overhauser Effect Spectroscopy), an NMR technique for structure determination of macromolecular motifs.

Other experimental techniques exploiting the NOE include and are not limited to:

  • HOESY, Heteronuclear Overhauser Effect Spectroscopy
  • ROESY, Rotational Frame Nuclear Overhauser Effect Spectroscopy
  • TRNOE, Transferred Nuclear Overhauser Effect
  • DPFGSE-NOE, Double Pulsed Field Gradient Spin Echo NOE experiment


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