A 100,000 times improvement of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy might be possible thanks to a technique for separating the ortho spin isomer of water from its para and other forms by using a magnetic lens to manipulate a supersonic molecular beam. The Israeli team who developed the technique built in quantum mechanics experiments carried out in the 1920s and 1930s. The use of hyperpolarized water in NMR could improve its infamous low sensitivity.
However, separating water’s spin isomers has been tried before and the concept remains controversial and unproven at a practical level.
- A Magnetically Focused Molecular Beam of Ortho-Water
T. Kravchuk, M. Reznikov, P. Tichonov, N. Avidor, Y. Meir, A. Bekkerman, G. Alexandrowicz,
Science 2011, 331, 319–321.