2017 EAS Award for Outstanding Achievements in NMR

Dr. Bernhard Blümich

Dr. Bernhard Blümich

Dr. Bernhard Blümich is professor of Macromolecular Chemistry at RWTH Aachen University, Germany since 1993. He holds a Master of Science degree (1976) in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., a Diploma in Physics (1977) and a PhD in Physical Chemistry (1981) from Technische Universität Berlin in Germany. He was a member of staff at the Department of Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Bayreuth (1983), Germany, and then at the Max Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz (1984). Blümich has written three monographs on NMR, the most recent one on ‘Compact NMR’ (de Gruyter, Berlin, 2014). He has edited a number of books, (co-)authored more than 430 publications and several patents. Currently he is president of the AMPERE society, Europe’s magnetic resonance society, and associate editor of the Journal of Magnetic Resonance. Blümich developed a passion for NMR as an undergraduate student at TU Berlin in 1973 and ever since pursued the development of NMR methodology, beginning with noise excitation and then solid-state NMR spectroscopy and NMR imaging of materials. Among others he compacted stray-field NMR at RWTH Aachen University to a portable low-field device for nondestructive testing together with Peter Blümler using permanent magnets (1996). This ‘NMR-MOUSE’ (MObile Universal Surface Explorer) found use in particular in the tire industry and in the cultural heritage community for analysis of art and historical artifacts. Along with his Argentinian students Federico Casanova, Juan Perlo and Ernesto Danieli, the NMR-MOUSE was improved in sensitivity and spatial resolution to measure high-resolution depth profiles through skin, paint layers, frescoes, and other objects. The knowhow gained in working with permanent magnets led to the development of miniature NMR magnets suitable for high-resolution NMR spectroscopy (2010) and to their subsequent commercialization. Today the same Argentinans run Margitek GmbH in Aachen, which produces the magnets and other components for the Spinsolve line of Magritek tabletop NMR spectrometers. Such compact spectrometers give quick access to NMR spectroscopy of 1H and other nuclei in the chemistry lab and to reaction monitoring in the fume hood. With this technology NMR spectroscopy has become a convenient analytical tool similar in its use to IR spectroscopy and other benchtop methodologies.