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A proton spin diffusion based solid-state NMR approach for structural studies on aligned samples.

The journal of physical chemistry. B (2011-04-07)
Jiadi Xu, Pieter E S Smith, Ronald Soong, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy
ABSTRACT

Rapidly expanding research on nonsoluble and noncrystalline chemical and biological materials necessitates sophisticated techniques to image these materials at atomic-level resolution. Although their study poses a formidable challenge, solid-state NMR is a powerful tool that has demonstrated application to the investigation of their molecular architecture and functioning. In particular, 2D separated-local-field (SLF) spectroscopy is increasingly applied to obtain high-resolution molecular images of these materials. However, despite the common use of SLF experiments in the structural studies of a variety of aligned molecules, the lack of a resonance assignment approach has been a major disadvantage. As a result, solid-state NMR studies have mostly been limited to aligned systems that are labeled with an isotope at a single site. Here, we demonstrate an approach for resonance assignment through a controlled reintroduction of proton spin diffusion in the 2D proton-evolved-local-field (PELF) pulse sequence. Experimental results and simulations suggest that the use of spin diffusion also enables the measurement of long-range heteronuclear dipolar couplings that can be used as additional constraints in the structural and dynamical studies of aligned molecules. The new method is used to determine the de novo atomic-level resolution structure of a liquid crystalline material, N-(4-methoxybenzylidene)-4-butylaniline, and its use on magnetically aligned bicelles is also demonstrated. We expect this technique to also be valuable in the structural studies of functional molecules like columnar liquid crystals and other biomaterials.

MATERIALS
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Sigma-Aldrich
N-(4-Methoxybenzylidene)-4-butylaniline, 98%