Ever since its first realization, NMR continues to expand its range of applications through progress in understanding spin physics and advancing hardware. The Blümich group at RWTH Aachen University engages in both, emphasizing applications in the study of polymer properties and transport phenomena in an engineering context. The limits of detection are pushed by hyper-polarization techniques, and the limits of portability are overcome by developing compact instrumentation like the NMR-MOUSE for nondestructive materials testing and small permanent magnets for real-time chemical analysis under the fume hood and functional imaging of polymer products during the manufacturing process. Examples of on-going studies are:
- High-field and low-field studies of the morphology of semi-crystalline polymers under the impact of mechanical forces, temperature and solvents with the aim to eventually predict the residual service life-time of polymer products from non-destructive NMR measurements
- High-field and low-field studies of fluid uptake, transport and release from porous media like catalysts and soil to optimize chemical separation processes, contribute towards improving heterogeneous catalysis and para-H2 hyper-polarization, and to understand moisture flux in the crust of the earth
- Optimization of fast velocity NMR imaging methods to study time-dependent liquid flow in chemical devices and soft-matter transport in a production environment to optimize chemical engineering processes
- Development and application of compact NMR spectroscopy methods to monitor chemical reactions in real-time and to identify chemical compounds in situ
- Applications of the NMR-MOUSE to analyze the state of objects from cultural heritage such as paintings, documents, and building materials to analyze the state of conservation and to optimize restoration and conservation procedures
This work is conducted in the Magnetic Resonance Center MARC at RWTH Aachen University and the two associated low-field laboratories MOUSEoleum I and II in cooperation with the Aachen-Karlsruhe Instrumental facility Pro2NMR of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft focusing on Products and Processes.