Nanoliter volume, high-resolution NMR microspectroscopy using a 60-micron planar microcoil

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1997 Nov;44(11):1122-7. doi: 10.1109/10.641340.


Previous studies demonstrated the feasibility of using 100-microns inner diameter planar spiral inductors (microcoils) as detectors in 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) microspectroscopy. However, high-resolution NMR applications were not possible due to poor spectral resolution and low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). These limitations in performance have now been largely overcome by using a nonconductive liquid fluorocarbon (FC-43) to minimize the effects of susceptibility mismatch between materials, and by carefully optimizing the microcoil geometry for maximum SNR. In this study, liquid samples were loaded into a fused silica capillary (75-microns inner diameter, 147-microns outer diameter). The capillary was positioned 50 microns above a 3.5-turn microcoil so that approximately 1 nL of the sample was present in the sensitive region of the microcoil. The microcoil was fabricated on a gallium arsenide substrate with an inner diameter of 60 microns, an outer diameter of 200 microns, trace width of 10 microns, trace spacing of 10 microns, and trace height of 3 microns. At 5.9 T (250 MHz) in 1H-NMR microspectroscopy experiments using a spectral width of 1 kHz, 4096 sampled data points, and a recovery delay of 1 s, a SNR of 25 (per acquisition) and a spectral linewidth of less than 2 Hz were obtained from a sample of water. These results demonstrate that planar microcoils can be used for high-resolution NMR microspectroscopy. Such coils may also be suitable for localized NMR studies at the cellular level and as detectors in capillary electrophoresis or microbore liquid chromatography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Electric Conductivity
  • Equipment Design
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / instrumentation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity