Skip to main content
Select Source:

magnetic resonance

magnetic resonance, in physics and chemistry, phenomenon produced by simultaneously applying a steady magnetic field and electromagnetic radiation (usually radio waves) to a sample of atoms and then adjusting the frequency of the radiation and the strength of the magnetic field to produce absorption of the radiation. The resonance refers to the enhancement of the absorption that occurs when the correct combination of field and frequency is reached. The procedure is analogous to tuning a radio dial exactly to a desired station.

Several distinct kinds of magnetic resonance exist. In cyclotron resonance the magnetic field is adjusted so that the frequency of revolution of a charged particle around the field lines is exactly equal to the frequency of the radiation. This principle is used to produce beams of energetic particles in particle accelerators.

Other magnetic resonance phenomena depend on the fact that both the proton and electron exhibit intrinsic spin about their own axes and thus act like microscopic magnets. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) arises from unpaired electron spins in liquids or solid crystals. Because of their own magnetism, the spins line up with the external magnetic field. For a given magnetic field the spins can be made to "flip" to the opposite direction when they absorb radiation at a corresponding "resonant" frequency. From the point of view of quantum mechanics, the spin flips can be considered as transitions between states that become separated in energy when the magnetic field is applied. The effect is related to the splitting of spectral lines when an atom is subjected to a magnetic field (see spectrum; Zeeman effect).

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is analogous to EPR; however NMR is produced by the much smaller magnetism associated with unpaired nuclear spins. The NMR resonant frequency (usually that of protons in complex molecules) is slightly shifted by interactions with nearby atoms in the sample, thus providing information about the chemical structure of organic molecules and other materials. NMR is now extensively employed in medicine, although the use of the word "nuclear" is avoided, the preferred name being magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The technique provides high-quality cross-sectional images of internal organs and structures. Paul Lauterbur, an American physicist, and Peter Mansfield, a British physicist, shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for pioneering contributions that later led to the application of magnetic resonance in medical imaging.

Magnetic resonance can also occur without an external magnetic field from interactions of the electron and nuclear spins; such resonance produces the fine and hyperfine structure of atomic spectra.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"magnetic resonance." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"magnetic resonance." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/magnetic-resonance

"magnetic resonance." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/magnetic-resonance

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

magnetic resonance

magnetic resonance Absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation by atoms placed in a magnetic field. Spectrometers for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) use radio frequencies for chemical analysis and research in nuclear physics, and medically to analyse body tissues.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"magnetic resonance." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"magnetic resonance." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/magnetic-resonance

"magnetic resonance." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/magnetic-resonance

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.