Observation of 239Pu Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Science  18 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6083, pp. 901-904
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220801

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In principle, the spin-½ plutonium-239 (239Pu) nucleus should be active in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. However, its signal has eluded detection for the past 50 years. Here, we report observation of a 239Pu resonance from a solid sample of plutonium dioxide (PuO2) subjected to a wide scan of external magnetic field values (3 to 8 tesla) at a temperature of 4 kelvin. By mapping the external field dependence of the measured resonance frequency, we determined the nuclear gyromagnetic ratio 239γn(PuO2)/2π to be 2.856 ± 0.001 megahertz per tesla (MHz/T). Assuming a free-ion value for the Pu4+ hyperfine coupling constant, we estimated a bare 239γn/2π value of ~2.29 MHz/T, corresponding to a nuclear magnetic moment of μn ≈ 0.15μN (where μN is the nuclear magneton).

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