235. Benchtop NMR in Forensic Chemistry

Sarah L. Draper and Evan R. McCarney; Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry; (2021); DOI: 10.1002/mrc.5197

NMR spectroscopy is a powerful technique well-known for its ability to elucidate structures, analyse mixtures and its quantitative nature. However, the cost and maintenance of high field NMR instruments prevents its widespread use by forensic chemists. The introduction of benchtop NMR spectrometers to the market operating at 40-80 MHz have a small footprint, are easy to use and cost much less than high field instruments which makes them well suited to meet the needs of forensic chemists. These modern low-field spectrometers are often capable of running multiple nuclei including 1H, 13C, 19F, and 31P, 2D NMR experiments, and advanced experiments such as solvent suppression and DOSY are possible. This has resulted in a number of publications in the area of forensic chemistry using benchtop NMR spectroscopy in the last five years that was previously missing from the literature. This mini-review summarises this research including examples of benchtop NMR being used to identify and quantify compounds relevant to forensics and some advanced methods that may be used to overcome some of the limitations of these instruments for forensic analysis. Further validation and automation are likely required for widespread uptake of benchtop NMR in industry however it has been demonstrated as a useful complement to other analytical techniques commonplace of forensic laboratories.