EZ NMR: what is it?

It is a collection of macros, menu buttons, parameter sets, shell scripts and some pulse programs that were put together to facilitate the use of the seven Varian spectrometers in the Department of Chemistry: i300, i400, m400, s400, ibd5, u500, i600 and v700. It could be described as an extra layer of software which can be used by a user, if desired, but does not have to be used at all. The use of the original Varian software is absolutely not affected.

The system is designed to take care of differences between the many spectrometers (different sensitivities and sweep widths are just two of many more examples) and allow the users to basically use the same macros and/or menu buttons on either spectrometer and obtain high quality 1D or 2D spectra in the shortest possible time. The system supports a variety of techniques in seven different solvents.

History. It started in 1993 when the number of samples and requested techniques were so high and the instrument time on u500 so short that some serious optimization in spectrometer usage had to be made. Consequently, from 1993 up to about 1996, more and more macros and parameter sets were developed but only for strictly personal use. Quite a number of Departmental observers of the functionality of the growing system expressed their interest in using it as well. When two more spectrometers and an independent data station were added in 1997, i300 and i600, the decision to extend this to all three spectrometers and to make it available to everybody was made. Menu buttons were added at that time to facilitate the use even further, i.e. instead of remembering macro names users can click on (hopefully!) intuitive buttons. This was called AO-VNMR. The number of macros and other pertinent files increased over the years and as of today (1/2010) there are about 500 in operation.

What does AO-VNMR and EZ NMR stand for?
VNMR is what Varian called their NMR software package until about 2005. AO was added in the absence of a better idea and a  need for brevity. There is still debate whether this stands for automated operation or the initials of the author. Once VNMRJ was introduced in the Department (2007), EZ NMR (for "easy") was developed as a replacement for the older package. It is based on the Java language as is VNMRJ.

Can it be used on Bruker spectrometers?
No, not without an enormous and unreasonable effort in reprogramming. Macros were written in Varian's macro language called MAGICAL and parameter sets cannot be used: Bruker and Varian have totally different ways to call their parameters (as it should be among strong competitors...).

Is it for sale to other institutions, or better even, freeware?
No, unfortunately neither of the two. The macros are very tightly written to fit the spectrometers in the Department. There is no generic version available, nor planned in the foreseeable future, that would work on other systems without intense customization. For this reason access to the EZ NMR course material is restricted - people from outside cannot possibly benefit from it.

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