Monitoring fast chemical processes by reaction-interrupted excitation transfer (ExTra) NMR spectroscopy†
NMR spectroscopy is generally used to investigate molecules under equilibrium conditions. Despite recent technological and methodogical developments to study on-going reactions, tracing the fate of individual atoms during an irreversible chemical reaction is still a challenging and elaborate task. Reaction-interrupted excitation transfer (ExTra) NMR provides a selective tracking of resonances from atoms, which undergo chemical conversion. We show that reactions triggered either by rapid mixing or by photo-excitation can be conveniently followed at a sub-second time scale using standard NMR equipment. In ExTra NMR we use the selectively inverted magnetization of a selected atom to follow its conversion in the course of a fast chemical reaction. The chemical reaction has to be started within the relaxation period of an initial inverting 180° pulse. The presented protocol provides a generally applicable NMR method for reaction monitoring.