We present natural abundance nitrogen-15 (NAN15) NMR spectroscopy in thermotropic liquid crystals. It is demonstrated that high resolution NAN15 NMR spectra in mesophases can be accurately recorded in non-spinning samples with a high orientational molecular order and strong anisotropic spin interactions. In this technique, due to low demand on radio-frequency decoupling power, standard solution-state probes can be used, which generally provide superior sensitivity and spectroscopic resolution in comparison to solid-state probes. We show that 15N chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) can be used as a sensitive probe of molecular orientational dynamics in liquid crystals. This method is exploited here to measure the orientational molecular order parameter of the nematic 4-pentyl-4′-cyanobiphenyl (5CB). Since the nitrogen spectra are obtained from the molecules constituting the mesophase rather than from probe molecules, the information is direct and the analysis and interpretation is straightforward. Nitrogen CSA of immobilized molecules, required in the analysis, is obtained using a DFT calculation. The approach provided consistent results for the order parameter in the nematic 5CB in the whole temperature range, in good agreement with literature data.
Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry