Effects of Diffusion on Free Precession in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Experiments

Phys. Rev. 94, 630 – Published 1 May 1954
H. Y. Carr and E. M. Purcell


Nuclear resonance techniques involving free precession are examined, and, in particular, a convenient variation of Hahn's spin-echo method is described. This variation employs a combination of pulses of different intensity or duration ("90-degree" and "180-degree" pulses). Measurements of the transverse relaxation time T2 in fluids are often severely compromised by molecular diffusion. Hahn's analysis of the effect of diffusion is reformulated and extended, and a new scheme for measuring T2 is described which, as predicted by the extended theory, largely circumvents the diffusion effect. On the other hand, the free precession technique, applied in a different way, permits a direct measurement of the molecular self-diffusion constant in suitable fluids. A measurement of the self-diffusion constant of water at 25°C is described which yields D=2.5(±0.3)×10-5 cm2/sec, in good agreement with previous determinations. An analysis of the effect of convection on free precession is also given. A null method for measuring the longitudinal relaxation time T1, based on the unequal-pulse technique, is described.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.94.630

  • Received 19 January 1954
  • Published in the issue dated May 1954

© 1954 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

H. Y. Carr

  • Department of Physics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

E. M. Purcell

  • Lyman Laboratory of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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