Mobilizing magnetic resonance

From iPods to space probes, technological progress is driven by the mantra “smaller, faster and cheaper”. Yet for the past few decades one of the best known techniques in physics – nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy – has followed a different principle: bigger is better. In order to detect the tiny magnetic moments of nuclei, the magnets in state-of-the-art NMR devices can weigh up to several tonnes and cost millions of dollars to build and maintain. This severely restricts applications of NMR because the sample always has to be brought to the machine.

Goodsonis, B. (2006). Mobilizing magnetic resonance. Physics World, 19(5), 28–33.