Magnetic palm reading

Powerful yet portable spectrometers would allow analytical work to be carried out in the field more easily, whether in medical diagnostics, environmental research or forensic science. Now, researchers at RWTH Aachen, Germany, have developed a magnetic system that fits in the palm of your hand and could allow portable high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to be carried out without the hindrance of otherwise bulky magnets. The new configuration of magnets can easily accommodate a standard NMR tube and so has the additional benefit of allowing samples of a conventional volume to be analyzed readily.