Reconversion of Parahydrogen Gas in Surfactant-Coated Glass NMR Tubes

Robert V. Chimenti, James Daley, James Sack, Jennifer Necsutu, Nicholas Whiting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The application of parahydrogen gas to enhance the magnetic resonance signals of a diversity of chemical species has increased substantially in the last decade. Parahydrogen is prepared by lowering the temperature of hydrogen gas in the presence of a catalyst; this enriches the para spin isomer beyond its normal abundance of 25% at thermal equilibrium. Indeed, parahydrogen fractions that approach unity can be attained at sufficiently low temperatures. Once enriched, the gas will revert to its normal isomeric ratio over the course of hours or days, depending on the surface chemistry of the storage container. Although parahydrogen enjoys long lifetimes when stored in aluminum cylinders, the reconversion rate is significantly faster in glass containers due to the prevalence of paramagnetic impurities that are present within the glass. This accelerated reconversion is especially relevant for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) applications due to the use of glass sample tubes. The work presented here investigates how the parahydrogen reconversion rate is affected by surfactant coatings on the inside surface of valved borosilicate glass NMR sample tubes. Raman spectroscopy was used to monitor changes to the ratio of the (J: 0 → 2) vs. (J: 1 → 3) transitions that are indicative of the para and ortho spin isomers, respectively. Nine different silane and siloxane-based surfactants of varying size and branching structures were examined, and most increased the parahydrogen reconversion time by 1.5×–2× compared with equivalent sample tubes that were not treated with surfactant. This includes expanding the pH2 reconversion time from 280 min in a control sample to 625 min when the same tube is coated with (3-Glycidoxypropyl)trimethoxysilane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2329
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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