Herbert Sander Gutowsky Developed Finger Print Phenomenon

Herbert Sander Gutowsky – developed finger print phenomenon

Article on Herbert Sander Gutowsky

Biography & contributions

Herbert Sander Gutowsky, American chemist born on November 8, 1919 - died on January 13, 2000.Gutowsky was a pioneer in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

He was awarded with many notable awards and medals like Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics in 1966 and the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry in 1975, National Medal of Science in 1977,Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 1983/84,Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award in 1992 and the John Kuebler Award of the Alpha Chi Sigma professional fraternity.

Gutowsky's pioneering work on the spin-spin coupling effect, this was lead to the development of phenomenon called 'finger print' method for the identification and characterization of organic compounds. He was also the first to observe the effect of dynamic processes on the lineshape of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectra, and exploited it for the studies of hindered rotation in molecules.

Chemical shift

The signal frequency that is detected in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is proportional to the magnetic field applied to the nucleus.

This would be a precisely determined frequency if the only magnetic field acting on the nucleus was the externally applied field. But the response of the atomic electrons to that externally applied magnetic field is such that their motions produce a small magnetic field at the nucleus which usually acts in opposition to the externally applied field.

This change in the effective field on the nuclear spin causes the NMR signal frequency to shift. The magnitude of the shift depends upon the type of nucleus and the details of the electron motion in the nearby atoms and molecules. It is called a "chemical shift".

The precision of NMR spectroscopy allows this chemical shift to be measured, and the study of chemical shifts has produced a large store of information about the chemical bonds and the structure of molecules.

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