Chemical Shift

Chemical Shift Definition:

In an NMR spectrum, the location of a signal, defined relative to the frequency of absorption of a reference compound, tetramethylsilane (TMS).

Chemical Shift Explained:

Several important features should be noted when talking about chemical shifts.

  1. When reading chemical shifts in NMR spectroscopy, it is showing the location of a resonating proton that has taken up radiation.
  2. Chemical shifts are dimensionless, and have the accompanying unit, ppm (parts per million). The spectrum usually shows absorptions of protons between 0 and 12 ppm.
  3. Hint: When deducing information from a NMR spectroscopy, relative to chemical shift, most organic compounds have recorded units, thus a high intensity of protons around a certain region on the spectroscopy will correspond to the observed organic compound. Benzene’s protons are somewhere around 7.2 ppm, thus if you are reading a spectroscopy, and find a great deal of protons in that region, you can be fairly certain that the compound is or contains Benzene.
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