Department of Chemistry

Our Group

We are developing and applying magnetic resonance techniques for the investigation of rapid processes and molecular dynamics. Hyperpolarization of nuclear spins yields unprecedented levels of signal, which enables us to acquire NMR spectra of reactions as they occur, in real time. Applications of these techniques include the fields of enzyme catalysis, reactions in organic chemistry, polymers, and more. Signals from hyperpolarized spins, recorded after a stopped-flow injection, reveal reaction kinetics and intermediate species on a sub-second to second time scale and inform on molecular structure, dynamics and interactions. To enable the use of hyperpolarization in NMR, we develop new hardware and specially adapted NMR experiments, and investigate the dynamics of hyperpolarized spin systems.

Current Activities

Selected Recent Publications

All publications »

Qi, C., Mankinen, O.*, Telkki, V.V. and Hilty, C.* Measuring Protein–Ligand Binding by Hyperpolarized Ultrafast NMR. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 146(8) 5063–5066 (2024). (article, web: February 19, 2024)

Pham, P. and Hilty, C. Biomolecular interactions studied by low-field NMR using SABRE hyperpolarization. Chem. Sci. 14, 10258-10263 (2023). (article, web: September 1, 2023)

Qi, C., Wang, Y. and Hilty, C. Application of Relaxation Dispersion of Hyperpolarized 13C Spins to Protein-Ligand Binding. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 60(45): 24018-24021 (2021). (article, web: Sep. 1, 2021)

Kim, Y., Samouei, H. and Hilty, C. Polyolefin Catalysis of Propene, 1-Butene and Isobutene Monitored Using Hyperpolarized NMR. Chem. Sci. 12(8): 2823-2828 (2021). (article, web: Jan. 4, 2021)


All news »

May 2022:
"Hyperpolarized water as universal sensitivity booster in biomolecular NMR" is selected as a featured article in Nature Protocols

April 2022:
Congratulations to Pierce for receiving the Bruno. J. Zwolinski Endowed Graduate Fellowship Award in Physical Chemistry!

August 2021:
"Characterization of protein–ligand interactions by SABRE" is selected as part of the 2021 Chemical Science HOT Article Collection


Biomolecular Interactions, Dynamics and Structure using DNP Hyperpolarization

More »

We are obtaining fundamental information on macromolecular structure, dynamics and interactions in challenging situations including in whole cells. A strong signal enhancement by dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) enables new modalities of biomolecular NMR.

Para-hydrogen Induced Polarization for Biomolecular and Biomedical Magnetic Resonance

More »

Para-hydrogen provides an inexpensive route to nuclear spin hyperpolarization. This project aims to unlock the potential of para-hydrogen for measuring properties of biological macromolecules, and characterizing protein-ligand interactions and protein folding.

Mechanisms of Catalysis in Polymers and CO2 Reduction

More »

We are studying mechanisms of single-site catalysts, CO2 reduction and polymerization reactions. We obtain unique insights into these processes far from equilibrium using real-time NMR spectroscopy.

Hyperpolarized Magneto-Optical Spectroscopy for Molecules and Materials

More »

Magneto-optical effects provide new information on molecules and materials. In this project, nuclear spin hyperpolarization and the nuclear spin optical rotation effect enables a new spectroscopy accessing localized electronic structure.