Chemistry, Department of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Chemistry, Under the Supervision of Professor Gerard S. Harbison. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Adrienne M. Roehrich


Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a tool used to probe the physical and chemical environments of specific atoms in molecules. This research explored small molecule analogues to biological materials to determine NMR parameters using ab initio computations, comparing the results with solid-state NMR measurements. Models, such as dimethyl phosphate (DMP) for oligonucleotides or CuCl for the active site of the protein azurin, represented computationally unwieldy macromolecules. 31P chemical shielding tensors were calculated for DMP as a function of torsion angles, as well as for the phosphate salts, ammonium dihydrogen phosphate (ADHP), diammonium hydrogen phosphate, and magnesium dihydrogen phosphate. The computational DMP work indicated a problem with the current standard 31P reference of 85% H3PO4(aq.). Comparison of the calculations and experimental spectra for the phosphate salts indicated ADHP might be a preferable alternative as a solid state NMR reference for 31P. Experimental work included magic angle spinning experiments on powder samples using the UNL chemistry department’s Bruker Avance 600 MHz NMR to collect data to determine chemical shielding anisotropies. For the quadrupolar nuclei of copper and scandium, the electric field gradient was calculated in diatomic univalent metal halides, allowing determination of the minimal level of theory necessary to compute NMR parameters for these nuclei.