Professor Edward W. Randall
BA BSc DPhil (Oxon) CChem FRSC
School of Biological & Chemical Sciences
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 5319
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7882 7427.
My consistent interest has been the development of multinuclear magnetic resonance techniques (both direct and indirect, using double resonance methods) and their application to many areas in chemistry (inorganic, organic, organometallic, polymeric, structural, biochemical, biomedical), and has more recently embraced NMR imaging, particularly of solids (organic polymers and materials of all sorts).
The group had the first commercial Fourier Transform (FT) NMR Spectrometer in the UK and obtained the first FT spectra of 15 N and 2 H at natural abundance. Other nuclei studied include 13 C, 14 N, 17 O and 31 P. Studies of oriented samples gave detailed molecular geometries. There were important collaborations with QMC colleagues in the areas of organometallic and peptide chemistry, the NMR of paramagnetic compounds in the field of shift and relaxation reagents.
In the last decade the group's efforts have turned to studies of the solid state and to imaging studies, each with particular reference to soils and porous materials. Our latest equipment is a large probe on the Varian Imaging Spectrometer for stray field (STRAFI) -imaging. This is only the second STRAFI-system in the UK, and about the fourth operational world wide. It is unique in having a large probe of 5 cm diameter, suitable for soil, or sand.
In 1991 Dr. Paul Kinchesh and I, together with Dr. Klaus Zick of Bruker, were the first UK scientists to use the powerful STRAFI technique of Samoilenko, and showed that
(i) image distortions produced by magnetic susceptibility variations are greatly reduced in STRAFI-images for example of water in soil and
(ii) any magnetically active nucleide, including quadrupolar nucleides, can be imaged by STRAFI-techniques even in the solid state, and even if the sample is paramagnetic.
Consequently we can for example investigate both 'bound' and 'free water' in any material. The range of industrial and environmental applications is immense.
The group now has more than 30 STRAFI-publications.
The solid state 1 H and 31 P imaging of bone and biomedical materials should prove to be important medically. We have initiated work on 7 Li and 31 P imaging of glasses and ceramics, some paramagnetic, with Dr. I. Abrahams. Currently Dr. Alasdair Preston and I are collaborating with Drs. Richard Whalley and Nigel Bird at The Silsoe Research Institute in studying the behaviour of water in soil at different matric potentials with BBSRC support. We are extending the STRAFI-method to include the flow of oil and water in rocks. With Dr. Teresa Nunes' group in Lisbon we have succeeded in the first NMR imaging of both ice and heavy ice. A new project is the STRAFI-NMR study of dental materials being developed in the Department of Biomaterials in Dentistry with Professors G. Pearson, M. Braden, and Dr. M. Patel.
Organic Matter in Soil.
Meanwhile Dr. Nathalie Mahieu and I continued, also with BBSRC funding, with our spectroscopic studies of organic matter in soils from all over the world, in collaboration with Professor Powlson's soil group at the Rothamsted Research Station. Dr. Mahieu maintains a data-base of published NMR spectra of soils which can be found here
We have investigated 13 C, 15 N and 31 P resonances in both the solid state and in liquid extracts from soil. Recently we have characterised solid fractions obtained via a Rothamsted density-fractionation procedure, giving a free light fraction and intra-aggregate light fractions. The results will be used as the building blocks in models of the turnover of soil organic matter. We are also comparing the information obtained from NMR with that from several other techniques including 'wet' chemical methods, py-GC/MS, FTIR, GC/MS analysis of lipids, in collaboration with Professor R. Evershed's Group at the University of Bristol.
- New Methods in NMR imaging ( Stray Field Imaging and Indirect Methods) including STRAFI-work on a 19.6 T system at the National High Field Laboratory in Tallahassee.
- Gamma-platform simulations of STRAFI-NMR ( http://gamma.magnet.fsu.edu )
- Stray Field imaging of materials and porous solids: soils, rocks, cements, glasses, ceramics, organic polymers, bones, and catalytic materials
- STRAFI- imaging and Spectroscopic Studies of Dental Materials.
- Solid State NMR spectroscopic studies of organic matter in soils
- Solution state studies of soil extracts using multinuclear and multidimensional high field (14.1T) techniques.
Collaborations & Funding
We have had collaborations with STRAFI-groups in Surrey (Professor Peter McDonald, Dr. Duncan Gillies), Moscow (Professor Andrei Samoilenko) and Lisbon (Dr. Teresa Nunes), aided by an EU grant. Additionally we are helping develop STRAFI-facilities on high field systems at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) in Tallahassee such as the 19.6 Tesla magnet. Also we collaborate with Dr. Scott Smith at the NHMFL on extensions of the Gamma-platform computing facility to STRAFI-problems. We have shared BBSRC funding for soils work both with the Rothamsted and Silsoe Research Institutes, and with the University of Bristol (for Mass Spectrometry investigations). Authors in the publications list come from Bulgaria, France, Italy, Portugal, the Philippines, Russia, and the USA. We have also received EPSRC travel funding.
The Early NMRDG: a personal Memoir (28/01/2009)
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