Pulsed-field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance measurements (PFG NMR) for diffusion ordered spectroscopy (DOSY) mapping
While NMR is the most used analytical method for determining the molecular structure of isolated chemical entities, small compounds as well as macromolecules, its capability of analysing complex mixtures is less known. The advent of Diffusion Ordered SpectroscopY (DOSY) NMR has made diffusion experiments popular, enabling diffusion coefficients to be routinely measured and used to characterize chemical systems in solution. Indeed, since the translational diffusion coefficients of molecular species reflect their effective sizes and shapes, DOSY NMR allows the separation of the chemical entities present in multicomponent systems and, as in all diffusion NMR experiments, provides information on their intermolecular interactions as well as on their size and shape. The main aim of this review is to present an overview of the DOSY NMR mapping and its applications. The paper starts with a brief introduction to pulsed-field gradient (PFG) NMR and then focuses on the methodological procedures that can be used to perform good diffusion data acquisition and to obtain good-quality DOSY maps. The second part describes, through selected literature examples, different applications of DOSY NMR to demonstrate the potential of the method for (i) unravelling the components of complex matrices comprising pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, foods and beverages, and biological extracts, and (ii) probing intermolecular interactions and evaluating association constants between different hosts and guests, as well as estimating the sizes and molecular weights of molecular species.