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Field-cycling NMR relaxometry extends the range of frequencies at which spin–lattice relaxation can be examined by orders of magnitude. For protons, this range extends typically from a few kHz to several tens of MHz. The spread of frequencies covered in this way can be supplemented by conventional NMR spectrometers usually operating at several hundred MHz. This in total extremely wide measuring range permits one to study the signature of molecular dynamics, namely the spectral density or its Fourier conjugate, the autocorrelation function, with unmatched informative value. The present book covers all aspects connected with the field-cycling methodology: basic principles, instrumentation, model theories, and the wide variety of applications in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, environmental science, and materials science.

Since the first attempts with home-made systems more than five decades ago, the field-cycling technique has been continuously improved and has now reached a mature level of sophistication. The community of researchers employing this method is growing more and more. There is a conference series on field-cycling NMR relaxometry dedicated to this particular research area. Hence there is no doubt that there was a need for this first comprehensive compilation, and it will bridge an obvious gap in the book market.

Experience shows that researchers starting to apply a technique with which they are initially unfamiliar often face severe problems in coping with it. Unless they enjoy personal help from experts, it will be difficult to get to the bottom of the methodological “secrets”, i.e. all the tricks and laboratory wisdoms, which are never published in original journal articles. This book is different: written by proven specialists and practitioners, it is conceptualised to provide the broad information pool and handling instructions that users need so as to avoid beginners’ mistakes.

The reader will find both introductory chapters and articles with a more specialized content. The subjects of the chapters partially overlap to some extent, and in this way some light is shed on different representation and interpretation variants that often form a basis for elucidating discussions in our community. The explanations, the model treatments, the technical know-how, the application perspectives, the theoretical background, the analogies with other fields, the impact of new ideas, the variety of the technique – all this will inspire and broaden the mind of anybody interested in molecular dynamics. Both beginners in the field and experts will find all the clues needed for the fruitful advancement of any envisaged field-cycling project.

The chapter authors are leading representatives in their research areas. The material they have contributed to this book is comprehensive and encompasses the latest developments in the field. I am indebted to all of them for spontaneously agreeing to enrich this compendium with their invaluable expertise. Many thanks are also due to the members of the Editorial Board of the book series New Developments in NMR for suggesting and initiating the present volume. Last but not least, it was a pleasure to cooperate with the kind staff of The Royal Society of Chemistry books department during the whole preparation phase.

Rainer Kimmich

Ulm, Germany

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