NMR Solvents & Referencing


For 1H experiments protio-solvent should be avoided, if possible, as the strong solvent signals will interfere with the spectrum required . The solvent should normally contain a strong deuterium signal (e.g. CDCl3) so that the field can be "locked" for the duration of the experiment. This is especially important for 1H measurements where good resolution is required.

All of the spectrometers have an option for running samples unlocked (i.e. without d-solvent) but this usually only appropriate with certain 31P or 11B measurements. Solvent suppression experiments can sometimes be used to reduce residual solvent signals in 1H spectra (see 1D experiments guide).

Solvent Supplies

CDCl3 (100g) is available from stores as a proactis stores item (order using a white form with code CHEM000408).

Other solvents can be borrowed from S100 or in signed out to a group if there is a specific need.

Solvent Signals

Please see Cambridge Isotope Laboratories chart for Chemical Shifts, boiling points etc. of NMR solvents (courtesy of Cambridge Isotope Laboratories).

Solvent costs

Solvent (10g unless stated)
Cost per bottle (2011) 
Cost per sample(2011) 
d-Chloroform (100g)
£ 6.11
£ 0.04
Deuterium Oxide (100g)
£ 28.18
£ 0.20
£ 7.12
£ 0.51
£ 10.87
£ 0.78
£ 9.32
£ 0.67
£ 10.62
£ 0.76
£ 8.11
£ 0.58
£ 18.47
£ 1.32
£ 25.20
£ 1.80
d-Dichloromethane £ 19.74
£ 1.41
d-Tetrahydrofuran (0.75ml)
£ 9.50


All NMR spectra run by the service are calibrated in the ppm scale. For 1H, 2H and 13C internal TMS is the accepted reference (0ppm), and this is used whenever its signal can be observed in the sample.

For all other nuclei (or samples without TMS), spectra are referenced via the deuterated solvent against the magnet field and hence known reference compounds. The reference substances (0ppm) for the more common nuclei are as follows:

            11B        Boron trifluoride etherate (BF3.OEt2)
            15N       Nitrate ion (NO3-) for JEOL & NO2 for Varian.
            19F        Fluorotrichloromethane (Cl3F)
            31P        85% Phosphoric acid (H3PO4)
            195Pt     21.4MHz for TMS = 100MHz
            199Hg    Dimethylmercury (HgMe2)

        (these should be quoted as 'external references')