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Durham University

Department of Chemistry

Dr Paul Hodgkinson

Personal web page

Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42019
Member of the Durham X-ray Centre

(email at

Research Interests

NMR in the solid-state can provide detailed information on structure and dynamics in solid materials. Our research combines the development and evaluation of new techniques with applications to particular chemical problems, bridging the connection between the fast-moving world of methodological development and practical application. We have an excellent range of facilities, based around dedicated solid-state NMR spectrometers: a state-of-the-art 500 MHz machine, supported by two 400 MHz systems in our Solid-State NMR Service. Research projects can be largely experimental, largely theoretical/computational, or, more typically, a mix of experiment and computation.

Developments in solid-state and liquid crystal NMR of small molecules

Advances in hardware and methodology allow many of the elegant techniques of solution-state NMR to be applied to solid samples (e.g. the use of J couplings and indirect detection). We collaborate with a number of pharmaceutical companies (current sponsors include AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline) to develop experimental techniques suitable for the study of pharmaceutical systems e.g. improving the sensitivity of 15N NMR to allow drug molecules to be characterised in formulated products, or characterizing the hydrogen-bonding in different polymorphs of the same substance.

At a more fundamental level, we have long-standing interests in the study of condensed phases with relatively high mobility, such as plastic and liquid crystals. Theories and experiments can be tested on these systems without inconvenient effects of intermolecular interactions. This allows to characterise subtle NMR phenomena that are difficult to identify in classic solid-state NMR (see right).

Structure and dynamics in inorganic systems

In joint work with the group of Dr. John Evans, we apply solid-state NMR of the study of inorganic framework materials. Characterisation of the structure of these materials by (powder) diffraction techniques alone is difficult, but combining the local information on structure and dynamics from multi-nuclear NMR (e.g. 17O, 31P, 183W) with the long-range structural information from diffraction studies, provide a much fuller understanding of these complex materials. A recent project has used 17O NMR to study the dynamics of oxygen motion in ZrW2O8: solid-state NMR is only technique that allows to both quantify the dynamics and identify its chemical nature. We are currently exploring how solid-state NMR, powder XRD and first principles calculations can be fully integrated to solve increasingly complex structural problems.

Further Information

For more information on current research projects and recent publications visit the Solid-State NMR Group web pages.


Chapter in book

  • Hodgkinson, Paul (2010). High-Resolution H-1 NMR Spectroscopy of Solids. In ANNUAL REPORTS ON NMR SPECTROSCOPY, VOL 72. Webb, GA 72: 185-223.

Journal Article