The Nucleus I Like Best
by Greg Crowther, Do Peterson, Adam Ludwig, and Claudia McLaughlin
There's 15N, 39K, 19F, and also 13C,
But of all the atoms East to West, the nucleus I like best is 31P.
Proton spins are everywhere, and MRIs reveal their density.
But all that leaves me unimpressed; the nucleus I like best is
Take a limb, get it shimmed, and sample from the muscles that you see.
A spectrum lets you quantify the PCr, Pi, and ATP.
Cell pH can be deduced from the inorganic phosphate frequency;
You can likewise measure magnesium using the chemical shift of
If you scan a leg or hand during stimulation and recovery,
The spectra let you find the rates of using and creating ATP.
Now NMR can take you far beyond this type of phosphate chemistry,
But I've come clean and I've confessed -- the nucleus I like best is 31P.
This is a partisan piece on the joys of
phosphorus NMR spectroscopy. It was written for the April 20001
meeting of the International Society for Magnetic
Resonance in Medicine. The "percussion" in the song consists of
actual sounds generated by a 1.5-Tesla NMR machine.