Accurate molecular weight determination of small molecules via DOSY-NMR by using external calibration curves with normalized diffusion coefficients
Determination of the aggregation and solvation numbers of organometallic complexes in solution is an important task to increase insight in reaction mechanisms. Thus knowing which aggregates are formed during a reaction is of high interest to develop better selectivity and higher yields. Diffusion-ordered spectroscopy (DOSY), which separates NMR signals according to the diffusion coefficient, finds increasing use to identify species in solution. However, there still is no simple relationship between diffusion coefficient and molecular weight (MW). Some methods have been developed to estimate the MW but still with a significant error of ±30%. Here we describe a novel development of MW-determination by using an external calibration curve (ECC) approach with normalized diffusion coefficients. Taking the shape of the molecules into account enables accurate MW-predictions with a maximum error of smaller than ±9%. Moreover we show that the addition of multiple internal references is dispensable. One internal reference (that also can be the solvent) is sufficient. If the solvent signal is not accessible, 16 other internal standards (aliphatics and aromatics) are available to avoid signal overlapping problems and provide flexible choice of analytes. This method is independent of NMR-device properties and diversities in temperature or viscosity and offers an easy and robust method to determine accurate MWs in solution.