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Book Review Multidimensional Solid-State NMR and Polymers. By K. Schmidt-Rohr and H. W. Spiess

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BOOKS
Multidimensional Solid-state NMR
and Polymers. By K . Schmidt-Rohr
and H . W Spiess. Academic Press,
London, 1994. 478 pp., hardcover
$65.00--ISBN 0-12-626630-1
Klaus Schmidt-Rohr and Hans Wolfgang Spiess have certainly written an impressive monograph. While always keeping polymers in mind, they clearly put the
emphasis on the methodology of modern
solid-state NMR, much of which has originated in the last decade in the laboratory
of H. W. Spiess. Accordingly, the heading
of Chapter two is “principles of N M R of
Organic Solids”. and only a short descriptive chapter is devoted specifically to the
structure and dynamics of solid polymers.
One may ask, as the authors also do, for
whom the book is written. Actually, the
intention is to address a broad readership
including beginners in solid-state NMR,
typically students starting their work for a
diploma o r master’s degree in a solid-state
N M R laboratory. Although K. S.-R. and
H. W. S. have tried to provide a self-contained text which can be read without constantly being forced to consult the cited
literature (statement in the preface), I
think that a beginner will need guidance
for the study of this monograph, and I
hasten to add: why not-after all it is
through the interplay between reading,
discussing, and doing experiments oneself
that one’s learning in science progresses.
With guidance, the beginner will recognize that from this monograph she or he
can learn all that is needed to thoroughly
understand spin gymnastics, Fourier theory in one and two dimensions, and all
about the magic of magic-angle sample
spinning, including the facts that it really
is advantageous to introduce a bewilderingly large number of different reference
frames and seemingly complicated functions, and that DOR and DAS, beautiful
as they are conceptually and technically,
have only limited applications. No word,
though, about Floquet theory.
For the reader with some experience the
monograph will prove to be a mine of
treasures where countless “experiments”,
serving a wide range of purposes in polymer science and elsewhere, can be found.
(Note that the usage of the word experiment is quite different in N M R from that
in. for example, high energy physics. In
NMR, already a new pulse sequence
which can be implemented through the
keyboard of a commercial spectrometer is
termed a new “experiment”.) The practitioner in the laboratory will appreciate the
numerous helpful remarks on very practical everyday problems.
The expert will enjoy the fresh approach by the authors to some simple
questions and the deep thought they give
to some classical problems. For example,
how many of us know whether our pulses
rotate the nuclear magnetization to the
left or to the right? K. S.-R. and H. W. S.
at least care. They make considerable efforts to clarify important concepts and
terms that are often carelessly used. Examples are the distinctions between homogeneous and inhomogeneous linebroadening, homogeneous and inhomogeneous Hamiltonians, and coherent and
stochastic processes.
Much consideration is given to the
question of the basic information content
of various multidimensional spectra. In
this context the reader leans about the
usefulness of various joint and conditional probabilities, and that certain multidimensional spectra will exactly correspond
to them. The close relationship between
exchange N M R spectra and correlation
functions in neutron scattering is discussed. Everyone who has performed a
multidimensional solid-state NMR experiment would be well advised to consult this
monograph as to whether or not the information contained in the spectra has been
fully recognized and correctly interpreted.
And this advice is certainly also pertinent
to those who have questions about a material, be it a polymer or not, and wonder
what kind of N M R experiment might give
the answer. Even more: the monograph
provides guidance to ask the right questions in the first place.
The sections and chapter on spin diffusion and its applications for characterizing polymers and polymer blends are particular highlights. It is refreshing to see
that the monograph even serves as a platform for scientific controversy. Here one
becomes very conscious of the personal
involvement of K. S.-R. and of how much
original work he has contributed to the
subject.
I am sure that the monograph will soon
become a standard reference source, a
c/assic, simply “the SRS”. It will be a must
for all who work in solid-state NMR. I am
the happy owner of two copies, one for the
bedside and one for the office.
Ulrich Haehrrlen
Max-Planck-Institut fur
Medizinische Forschung
Heidelberg (Germany)
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