Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) exploits the interaction of nuclei with magnetic fields. A strong static field is applied to polarise the nuclear magnetic moments, time-dependent magnetic radio frequency fields are used to stimulate the spectroscopic response, and magnetic-field gradients are needed to obtain spatial resolution. Following the description of the different magnetic fields used in NMR spectroscopy and imaging, the behaviour of magnetic nuclei exposed to these fields is treated first in terms of the classic vector model, and then the density-matrix concept is introduced. The latter is required to describe the couplings among nuclei, for example, the dipole-dipole interaction which dominates the 1H NMR spectrum of most solid materials. In addition, knowledge of the density matrix is helpful to understand multi-quantum coherences as well as the imaging methods developed for investigations of solid materials.
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