October 6, 2022


We provide Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) analytical services and training to users at Duke University, across the Research Triangle, and beyond. Our scientists are available to train users, run samples and analyze the results, or consult on the best methods for a particular scientific project.

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy uses the spin properties of nuclei in magnetic fields to identify and characterize molecules and mixtures. The sensitivity of these spins to their local molecular environment allows for a wide range of experiments and applications in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and engineering. The Duke NMR Center offers access to a wide range of state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers from 400 to 800 MHz (9.39 to 18.8 T) to support research projects at Duke and external academic institutions as well as commercial analyses for industries within and beyond the RTP area.

NMR is an excellent analytical tools for the identification and characterization of small molecules and polymers. Whether you need standard spectra for publication of a newly synthesized small molecule or you need a suite of experiments to determine your compound’s stereochemistry, Duke NMR center has the instrumentation and expertise to help you acquire the information you need. Through non-invasive and non-destructive measurements, NMR obtains comprehensive information of the substances which are useful to a wide range of applications in analytical chemistry, life sciences, material science, petroleum exploration, environmental researches, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery.


  • Small molecule verification, conformation, and structure elucidation
  • Ligand screening
  • Polymer analysis
  • Kinetics studies
  • Complex mixtures
  • Drug discovery
  • Natural products study
  • Identification and quantification of the small molecules present in a sample is at the heart of metabolomics and mixture analysis. Whether the sample is from a biological system, chemical reaction, or industrial process, NMR spectroscopy can help researchers understand what is present in their samples and how their samples differ across treatment groups.


  • Quantification of metabolites and tracking isotopes for pathway analyses
  • Beverage and food analysis
  • Soil and water analysis
  • Biomarker discovery
  • Screening for clinical research
  • NMR spectroscopy is a valuable tool in the structural biologist’s toolbox. It can be used to determine the 3-D structures of larger biomolecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides. Knowledge of the structure aids in understanding how these biomolecules function and in how they interact with other molecules, large or small. We can also measure the motions these molecules undergo across multiple timescales. Linking these dynamics to the structure gives a fuller picture of how these molecules function and provides key insights into their interactions with other molecules. There are a myriad of NMR experiments and techniques available for researchers to answer these kinds of questions.


  • Small molecule binding screens
  • Uncovering and understanding allostery
  • Protein:protein interactions
  • Protein folding and stability
  • Aptamer characterization
  • Small molecule conformation and structure characterization
  • Macromolecular structure characterization and dynamics: protein, DNA, RNA, and site-specific ligand binding
  • Chemical and molecular dynamics
  • Kinetics and chemical reactions
  • Mixture analysis: soil, tissue, natural products, food and beverages
  • Materials analysis: polymer, porosity and polymorphism
  • Clinical screening
  • Quality control
  • Quantification