Allocation of Instrument Time

NMR time is allocated to users of the NMR Center 300, 400, and 500 MHz instruments based on self-scheduling sign-up books available at each instrument. Electronic Google calendars are currently being tested and will be available soon via a link to the “schedules” page of this website. 600, 700, and 800 MHz spectrometer time is scheduled by NMR Center staff based on written requests submitted on the “instrument request form” available on this website. Routine walk-up access is generally reserved for the lower field instruments while the higher field spectrometers are most commonly used in extended blocks of instrument time. The guidelines for scheduling instrument time in the NMR Center are outlined below:

  • Levine Science Research Center (LSRC) 300 MHz and French Family Science 400 and 500 MHz spectrometers – sign-up book based schedule.
    • The time periods from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday are reserved for use in short-time blocks of 15 minutes.
    • Evenings after 5:00 p.m. and the weekends may be scheduled in extended time blocks for larger experiments. Skilled operators who have been previously trained and checked out by Center staff and can operate unsupervised are generally scheduled in the time slots when staff are not normally available to assist or respond to questions.
  • LSCR 500 MHz instrument – sign-up book based schedule
    • This spectrometer is generally scheduled for extended time blocks as needed by users.
  • LSRC 600, 700 and 800 MHz spectrometers – User request form required.
    • These spectrometers generally are scheduled for extended time blocks as needed by users.

The spectrometers in both NMR Center locations are available on a 24 hour-a day, 7 day-a-week basis. Scheduling requests and hands-on use of the instruments in the NMR Center is restricted to trained operators who are able to function safely and effectively without supervision particularly during the evening and weekend periods. Currently the Center is staffed during the day Monday through Friday to assist users when needed and respond to questions regarding instrument use.

Submitted samples from users who do not have a trained and approved operator are scheduled by Center staff on a time available basis. Since the Center has very limited capacity to provide this service, submitted sample requests are discouraged. Training for new users, however, is provided by the Center staff and research programs are encouraged to designate one or more members to become trained operators.

Occasionally time will be reserved by the Center staff for instrument maintenance, and repairs. In situations where unanticipated repairs are required and a spectrometer is down, the staff will make every effort to accommodate experiments on alternate instruments if available.

Instrument time not previously scheduled either by sign-up or approved advance request, will be available for use on a first-come, first-served basis provided the limitations of scheduling short-term and long-term use are observed.

Fees for Instrument Use

The following list of charges has been approved by the DMRSC Steering Committee and the Duke University administration for the academic year 2014-2015:

User-Operated Basis for all instruments except the 600, 700 and 800 MHz spectrometers (users supply their own operators)

Duke University and Duke-Va Researchers Peak short blocks
Off-peak times and blocks of 10 hrs or more
External Academic Short blocks
Extended time blocks
Government Agency Short blocks
Extended time blocks
Industrial Short blocks
Extended time blocks

Extended time blocks are defined as blocks of 10 hrs or more of continuous use.
The use charges on the 600, 700 and 800 MHz spectrometers are at a flat rate of $10/hr for all Duke users with approved projects. These rates will be subject to annual review.

Submitted Sample Basis (run by Center staff) **

Duke University and Duke-Va Researchers $25/hr or $5/sample
External Academic $30/hr or $10/sample
Government Agency $30/hr or $10/sample
Industrial $90/hr or $30/sample

 ** Cost will be computed either way and the higher charge applies

Supplemental Costs

Low Temperature Experiments requiring N2 gas: Cost of cryogens

Sample preparation and all related expenses (NMR tubes, solvents, etc.) are the responsibility of the user. A financial responsibility statement must be signed by the appropriate research or program director before time will be scheduled on a user-operated basis. Charges will he assessed for repair to or replacement of equipment damaged due to negligence on the part of a user.

User Training and Approval of Instrument Operators

NMR spectroscopy can be a daunting and complicated technique for those that require access to the data that it can provide, but are not experts in the field. To address this need, in addition to providing state-of-the-art instrumentation, the experienced PhD scientific staff train investigators in the use of the equipment and assist in planning and implementing experiments, in data collection and analysis, and in manuscript preparation. Activities of the resource staff also include development of methods aimed at increasing the efficiency with which investigators acquire and process their data.  Resource staff also assist in the design and the incorporation of modifications to the instrumentation that enhance performance and/or address specific goals of investigators.

User groups are encouraged to operate the instruments on their own after suitable training and/or checkout of one or more designated operators. It is expected that each person who is approved to be an operator will have, at the minimum, prior experience on a modern NMR instrument, either through outside NMR activities or hands-on training at DMRSC. Those not meeting this criterion are encouraged to attend a training course on the operation of the appropriate Agilent/Varian or Bruker spectrometer offered by the DMRSC staff. Training sessions for small groups and individuals are scheduled according to demand. The hands-on part of the training will preferably be associated with experiments of research interest to the individual and the instrument time needed will be charged to the project. The extent of training will depend on the complexity of the experiments required for the project. Each person requesting operator status will be required to demonstrate competence on the instrumentation to DMRSC staff members before being permitted unsupervised access to the spectrometers.

Only personnel approved as operators by DMRSC staff may operate any DMRSC equipment.

Submitted Samples for Acquisition of NMR Spectra

Users may alternatively elect to submit samples on a limited basis to the Center for NMR analysis carried out by the Center staff. While the staff will attempt to assist users in this way when possible, there is no provision within the Center budget to provide for regular service of this type. Again, all expenses relating to the sample (sample preparation, NMR tubes, solvents, etc.) are the responsibility of the user. Each sample submitted for NMR analysis should be accompanied by the Analysis_Request_Form available here or at the facility sites.

Users wishing to submit samples for analysis on the 600, 700 or 800 MHz systems should submit a lower-field NMR spectrum at 300-500 MHz of that sample in order to justify the need for the higher-field data.

Requests for Instrument Time

All requests for time on the spectrometers in B138-147 LSRC and in the French Family Science facility are reviewed weekly by the NMR staff.

Requests for 600, 700 and 800 MHz spectrometer time must be submitted on a request form with appropriate justification. This form is available at the NMR Center or in electronic format. Justification may include one or more of the following criteria: a) need of the higher field for the increased resolution; b) need for the sensitivity at high field generally with extremely dilute macromolecular samples; c) need of the higher field for frequency dependence studies. These needs can usually be demonstrated by submitting a lower-field spectrum, generally at 500 MHz, with the request. In addition, since the 800 MHz instrument is a unique regional resource, priority will be given to particularly innovative applications. These requests are reviewed and scheduled weekly by the NMR Center staff. Requests for submitted sample analysis should be made on the DMRSC Sample Analysis Request Form. Time requests to obtain data in the User-Operated Mode may also be made in the form of a letter on departmental or company stationary. Explicit information on nucleus requested, sample (e.g., protein, tissue or small molecule), solvent, number of hours requested, name of requester and telephone number for contact, and funding codes or purchase requisition should be included with the letter.


It is requested that publications containing data obtained at the Duke Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Center acknowledge use of the Center and support from the NSF, the NIH, HHMI, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and Duke University for the instrumentation. It is also important to provide DMRSC with two reprints of each publication in which data obtained at the Center is cited to assist in fulfilling the Center’s annual reporting requirements.

Comments and Suggestions

Anyone wishing to make comments on or suggestions for improvement of the Center or its operating policies is invited to write to:

Duke Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Center
Box 3711
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina 27710.

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