P972: Using the biggest magnet: Development of a problem-based lab using the Earth’s magnetic field to teach NMR spectroscopy
The high cost and the required specialized skill set of running NMR often makes the technique, theory, and wide variety of applications inaccessible to undergraduate students. To meet this need, a lab was developed for a Physical Chemistry lab course using the Terranova NMR/MRI spectrometer, which uses the Earth’s magnetic field as the static field and current through a coiled wire as the oscillating magnetic field. The simplicity and inexpensiveness of the system allowed for a lab design that permits students to experiment with parameters and to visualize these effects in the FID and frequency spectrum. This lab employs a problem-based learning approach over two weeks in which students manipulate experimental conditions and apply concepts to meet the chosen problem goal. In the first 3 hour lab block, students learn about the instrument and 1-D NMR spectra, including the quantum principles that make the technique possible and the way parameters affect spectra. In the second week, students apply their knowledge to take 3-D MRI imaging that aligns with the project’s original problem. The lab and qualitative data from a pilot study will be presented.