NMR Facility

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford


THE UKMRM is an informal association for managers of magnetic resonance laboratories across the UK, founded in 2012 by Tim Claridge (Oxford) and Craig Butts (Bristol). Its aim is to promote the sharing of experiences, skills, information and ideas across the MR community. It operates primarily through its email list and holds an annual 1-day meeting where selected topics are discussed. Programmes and presentations from past meetings may be found below.

Annual meetings are arranged by a small group of people, currently comprising Tim Claridge (Oxford), Craig Butts (Bristol) and Ralph Adams (Manchester), plus a local organiser.

If you wish to join the UKMRM mail list, please send a mail from the email address you wish to be added to: ukmrm-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk

Only requests from recognised academic or industrial email addresses will be allowed to join the list.

COVID-19: Information for MR lab managers

Here we provide some information that may be useful for MR laboratory managers during the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic (we are grateful to Bruker Biospin for providing  this information)

Recommendations regarding Magnet Maintenance Activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Bruker UK)
We understand that during the coming weeks many of our customers may have significant concerns relating to their ability to maintain their spectrometers particularly with regards to Cryogen refills and especially where Site Closure or Access Restrictions are being considered.
We are maintaining close communication with our Helium suppliers and have been assured that at present no difficulties with the provision of deliveries is foreseen. Regular updates are being made with regard to the changing situation. We would advise all our customers to maintain contact with their Helium and Nitrogen supplier throughout the coming period.
If restricted access is being considered at your installation site we strongly recommend that arrangements are considered to provide essential maintenance refill activities for your spectrometers with respect to both Liquid Nitrogen and Helium Refill. Please discuss the situation directly with your site management or facilities provider to ensure that these tasks can be completed. We would recommend all customers consider any upcoming Nitrogen and Helium refill requirements and plan accordingly.
If the magnet cannot be filled with Liquid N2 due to lack of supply or access, the magnet will eventually run dry. Because of this, the Liquid He boil-off will subsequently increase, and when this happens there may be seen condensation on the helium towers.
The Liquid Helium boil-off rate in this situation cannot be quantified as there are many factors that control this, however it will be abnormally high and once the Liquid Helium level reaches the minimum allowed level an uncontrolled quench is very likely to occur.
Therefore, it is essential to do everything possible to maintain an adequate Liquid N2 level. Most magnets will have a two week hold time, some even longer. Although we would normally recommend a weekly fill this can be extended in unusual circumstances to the maximum hold time (please consult the manual supplied with your magnet).
An uncontrolled quench is not a situation that is recommended, because although there are protection components built into the magnet, there is always a small possibility of damage to the magnet in this event. It is therefore imperative to maintain adequate Nitrogen and Helium levels within the magnet
If it is envisaged that a Liquid Nitrogen or Helium level cannot be maintained, a controlled de-energisation of the magnet performed by a trained Bruker engineer should be considered (see further notes below). In this circumstance the magnet would be de-energised and left under vacuum, ready for re-installation at some later date. Please bear in mind that to safely de-energise the magnet it would need to be at least 80% full of Liquid Helium (please consult the manual supplied with your magnet to obtain a precise ‘minimum allowed level for (de)-energising’).
Our engineering team remain available during the coming period and can be reached via our Helpdesk in case of need for further advice or concern (email : service.bbio.uk@bruker.com, phone: 02476 855333).

Magnet de-energising or potential for quench

The following information has been provided by Carl Bridge (Bruker UK) regarding procedures to follow should you be faced with a potential magnet quench, or indeed if a magnet is de-energised in a controlled fashion.

"If anyone is actually considering leaving their systems unattended for any particular lengthy period of time (i.e weeks), whether energised or de-energised they should consider removing the lower shimcoil and probe from the magnet. Should a quench occur and/or the cryogens eventually boil away the magnet bore will ice as the vacuum becomes soft (some condensation will also form on the outer dewar of the magnet but that is not really a problem).

This bore ice will eventually melt and obviously that is not good for the shimcoil and probe. Leaving a plastic bucket or waste paper bin or suchlike under the magnet bore will collect any water and prevent carpet tile staining or a slip hazard etc...if the magnet is energised, obviously don't use a metal receptacle!

For an energised magnet, they should consider closing the lower magnet bore opening with a large rubber bung or similar in order to prevent anything magnetic ending up in the bore. Other people have used a square of sturdy thick plastic gaffa taped to the underside over the opening as an alternative. Obviously the bung or taped plastic should not seal the bore. Water should be capable of draining out of the bore. Do not tape the whole edges of the plastic sheet and/or consider drilling several small holes into the sheet prior to mounting. If using a rubber bung, cut a few small channels into the sides of the bung to allow water to escape.

The idea of the bung or plastic is to prevent larger items such as screwdrivers, spanners etc from being pulled into the bore. Holes in the plastic or channels  in the bungs should not be made to a size that would be big enough to allow for example a 1/2” screw or paper clip to pass through.

If people do find small items have been pulled in like this it is not such a major issue but a spanner or screwdriver most definitely is.

I guess a lot of people will then ask how to remove the shimcoil........hopefully most forum members can answer that (3 screw's at the top of upper shimcoil etc). But one thing to mention is that newer shimcoils that have demountable cables...cables should removed after powering down the BSMS (if not done as part of powering off the console).

Another question might arise due to the lower shim clamp (same colour as the shimcoil base).....this should be loosened (horizontal allen screws) if there is a tight fit, prior to sliding the shim coil down partially to allow access to the screws that retain the clamp on the magnet (vertical allen screws) and then removing the coil and clamp as one (this is the safest way to do it without potentially damaging the coil) - if the clamp is not loosened and is still a little tight it can be that the upper end of the coil which is slightly wider goes tighter in the clamp and then some people might try to twist the coil out of the clamp to extract it further (that is not good - don't do it!)

Systems with cryoprobes have a slightly different arrangement  due to the mounting hardware. You will notice that the front side of the horizontal part of the mounting hardware is capable of being loosened (again there are allen screws)

There should be non-magnetic allen keys provided with every system (check blue spares boxes etc.....)

If they are in any doubt about removing the shimcoil they should at least be removing the probe and the shimcoil can be left but bear in mind damage to the shimcoil could occur if ice forms and it is not recommended to leave it mounted.

Never, ever, ever attempt to undo the allen bolts on the black plates that surround the magnet bore - don't be confused! - that will release the magnet vacuum!"

Bruker's MICS remote magnet monitoring service

Remote Monitoring now comes at no charge to connect. Due to the current situation with site closures, travel and self-isolation, customers may appreciate having their system monitored remotely by Bruker.  This free-of-charge support could be a useful aid during these challenging and continually changing times; below is some information on how to set-up this feature in the MICS software.




Annual Managers' Meeting 17th June 2020 University of Leicester


Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting has been postponed. At this stage, we are not able to provide a future date for the meeting.

Local organiser: Vanessa Timmerman


The meeting precedes the NMRDG Post-graduate meeting on 18th June at the same location.

Annual Managers' Meeting 20th June 2019 University of York

Presentations from this meeting maybe be found below as PDFs- thanks to all our speakers for making these available.

Careers Updates – The Research Technical Professionals initiative (John Lowe for Anneke Lubben, University of Bath)

(please contact Anneke Lubben atl21@bath.ac.uk if you have feedback on this)

UKMRM Going Global - European Magnetic Resonance Managers (Ralph Adams, University of Manchester)

An Introduction to CONNECTNMRUK – An EPSRC-funded network for UK NMR (Craig Butts, University of Bristol)

The NMReDATA initiative- making NMR-derived data accessible (Stefan Kuhn, De Montford University)

Tips ‘n tricks- things we have learnt since our last meeting– (Tim Claridge, University of Oxford)

Annual Managers' Meeting 20th June 2018 University of Warwick

Presentations from this meeting maybe be found below as PDFs- thanks to all our speakers for making these available.

Instrument reservation software: Peter Grice (University of Cambridge)

UK solid-state NMR capabilities and availability: Paul Hodgkinson (University of Durham)

UK High-Field NMR Funding: Tony Chapman (EPSRC)

Vendor service support and service contracts: Maggie Liu (Institute of Cancer Research) 

Tips ‘n tricks- things we have learnt since our last meeting (Various- zip file contains PDFs of presentations)


Annual Managers' Meeting 21st June 2017 Glasgow (Strathclyde University)

Presentations from this meeting maybe be found below as PDFs- thanks to all our speakers for making these available.

UK NMR Funding outlook: Ultra-high field…but what else:  Craig Butts (Bristol)

Benchtop NMR in teaching and outreach: Ryan Mewis (Manchester Metropolitan) and Nicholle Bell (Edinburgh).

Teaching NMR at the post-graduate level: Adrienne Davis (Nottingham)

Optimising NMR efficiency and automation: Ralph Adams (Manchester)

Static and RF Magnetic Fields – Dealing with the Safety Issues: Iain J. Day (Sussex)


Annual Managers' Meeting 24th June 2016 Oxford

Presentations from the 2016 meeting maybe be found below as PDFs- thanks to all our speakers for making these available.

NMR Facility Overviews

St Andrew's Chemistry

Edinburgh Chemistry

Reson8 Group

Henry Wellcome Centre- Birmingham

National Solid-State NMR facility- Warwick

Cambridge Chemistry

Oxford Chemistry

Bristol Chemistry


NMR Data Management: Tomas Lebl (St Andrew's)

NMR Dynamics Software: Nick Rees (Oxford)

SPINACH simulation software: Ilya Kuprov (Southampton)

Instrument hardware, software and support: Tim Claridge (Oxford)

including Prodigy probe discussion: Juraj Bella (Edinburgh)


Annual Managers' Meeting 24th June 2015 Manchester

Presentations from this meeting maybe be found below as PDFs- thanks to all our speakers for making these available.

Financing Core Facilities: Craig Butts (Bristol)

DOSY- Practicalities and Pitfalls: Ralph Adams (Manchester)

Teaching NMR – what makes a good example?: Alan Kenwright (Durham)

Instrument hardware and support- the good, the bad, the ugly?: Tim Claridge (Oxford)


Annual Managers' Meeting 24th June 2014 Nottingham

Presentations from this meeting maybe be found below as PDFs- thanks to all our speakers for making these available.

Funding Landscape for NMR 2014 and beyond: Craig Butts (Bristol)

The RSC- Research Data and Community Initiatives: Serin Dabb (RSC)

Experiences with a Nitrogen cooled cryoprobe : Tim Claridge (Oxford)

Vivat Prodigy?:  Juraj Bella (Edinburgh)

Introduction to pure shift NMR: Juan Aguilar (Durham)

Helium Recycling: Huw Williams (Nottingham)


Annual Managers' Meeting 19th June 2013 Edinburgh

Helium recapture and recycling Craig Butts (Bristol)

Helium costs spreadsheet Craig Butts (Bristol)

Recent Technology Developments Tim Claridge (Oxford)

Funding landscape - EPSRC review of NMR Equipment Daniel Emmerson (EPSRC)

On-line resources- web sites, databases and more Tim Claridge (Oxford)


Annual Managers' Meeting 13th June 2012 Bristol

Improving Small Molecule Experimental Methods – Optimum methods for the modern laboratory?

Automation and Instrumentation – How can we get the best out of our kit?

Software and Data Management – What works and what doesn’t

Academic Facility Financing/Purchasing