As reflected in its title “Diffusion NMR of confined systems”, this book addresses phenomena at the intersection of three very broad research areas. These are diffusion, an essentially ubiquitous process in nature, nuclear magnetic resonance, one of the most versatile experimental techniques, and confined systems, exhibiting a particular wealth of dynamic and thermodynamic behaviors. Special focus is put on fluids, gases and liquids, confined to holes and voids created in solid materials. Although the content of most chapters is indeed concerned with the transport of simple molecular species in porous solids, the basic physical principles dealt with have a much broader impact and may be deployed in related research areas. To illustrate this, the collection also contains several chapters demonstrating the impact achieved by combining the methodology developed in diffusion NMR for porous media research with more complex systems.
Within such an attractive field of research it does not come as a surprise that many of the covered aspects have already been addressed in the literature and, in particular, several textbooks. But there remains a strong need for a comprehensive presentation. The present book project was, correspondingly, scheduled to demonstrate the impressive progress in the field over the last few decades both in methodological development and in broadening the scope of applications. Indeed, the collection of chapters included shows the truly multidisciplinary character of the field as seen from various perspectives. From the point of view of fundamental science, synergistic contributions from physicists and chemists were prerequisite for deepening our understanding of fluid behavior under confinement. Advances in the methodology were driven by the diversity of applications ranging from the exploration of oil-bearing shales to the human brain to water migration in plant cells and to energy storage by zeolites. The intention of this book was, therefore, two-fold—to report the recent advances and to enlighten the diversification and broadening of the fields of application.
The chapters included in this book were written by experts in the different sub-fields of NMR and porous media research, both from academia and industry. They represent, therefore, a balanced selection between fundamentals and applications. All fundamental phenomena discussed are contained in several chapters with increasing complexity, making it thus especially useful for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. At the same time, the collection of chapters presents the state-of-art, reporting on the forefront of active research and indicating the perspective areas for future research. Thus, it will also be useful as a reference book for active scientists.
I would like to mention that the preparation of this book was inspired by the success of the ongoing Bologna Conference series on Magnetic Resonance in Porous Media. For many years it has provided and continues to provide an excellent framework for promoting this area of research, for exchanging ideas, and for attracting and supporting talented students.
I am very thankful to the Royal Society of Chemistry and its editors for proposing us to edit this book within the series “New Developments in NMR” and to coordinate the editorial work from Leipzig. In fact, Leipzig has very intimate links with most of the phenomena discussed throughout this book. Thus, being famous for its publishing industry, it is no surprise that the breakthrough papers on diffusion from Fick, Einstein, and Knudsen first appeared in the Annalen der Physik (und Chemie) published in Leipzig. The development of the ideas of nuclear magnetism by Felix Bloch started, in some way, at the University of Leipzig during his doctorate with Werner Heisenberg and continued and developed to a vibrant research landscape of NMR across many disciplines. It comes therefore as a fortunate coincidence that this book is published on the same year with the establishment of the Felix Bloch Institute at the University of Leipzig, memorizing his contributions to physics in general, and to NMR, in particular.