“Another success for the research that is carried out at UA and for its researchers,” praises Artur Silva, Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Training 3rd Cycle of UA. “This project rewards a group of researchers and an area of research (NMR) that had its great impulse in UA in the early 90's, with the acquisition of the first high-resolution spectrometers, first that of solutions and then that of solids. However, since then and with a lot of work and effort, UA's solids NMR laboratory can now integrate this European network of excellence, which will bring great international visibility to this NMR laboratory”, highlights the member of the rectorate team.
The solids NMR research has, thus, three decades of history in UA and the integration in this European network “confirms the excellence and international visibility of the CICECO-UA laboratory”, says João Rocha, director of this associated UA laboratory. Members of the Department of Chemistry, João Rocha, Luís Mafra and Mariana Sardo are participating in this project.
New building for NVR equipment
The PANACEA Network will allow trans-national access of researchers and technicians from academia and companies to the best European solid NMR infrastructures, stimulating collaboration between the laboratories that integrate it, and promoting the creation of new knowledge and innovation, explains the researcher and director. UA's solids and liquids NMR laboratories are also part of the Portuguese NMR Network (PTNMR), which gathers the main national centers of the area. This Network was financed by FCT, which allowed UA to acquire one of the few dynamic nuclear polarization equipment existing in Europe, worth about 2 M€. Recently, within the framework of the PTNMR, the POCI program (FEDER) co-financed the construction of a building to house all the NMR equipment of the Department of Chemistry, which also had a very relevant contribution from the Rectory of UA. This building, adjacent to the Technological Laboratories, on the Santiago campus and next to the Department of Chemistry, should be completed by the summer of 2021.
To be able to develop, or improve, materials with the desired properties is essential to understand the atomic structure of solids, sometimes very complex, clarifies João Rocha. The NMR of solids is particularly useful for this purpose when the materials are not crystalline, or are disordered at the atomic level, such as certain drugs, polymeric composites, materials for batteries, or heterogeneous catalysts, he says. The NMR of solids allows to probe the molecular structure of materials through a physical phenomenon that originates in the nuclei of certain atoms. The same phenomenon allows the recording of medical images of the interior of the human body through the technique known as Magnetic Resonance.