Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference


Günther Laukien Prize

The Laukien Prize was established in 1999 to honor the memory of Professor Günther Laukien, a co-founder of Bruker. The Günther Laukien Prize carries a monetary award of $20,000 funded by Bruker and is intended to recognize cutting-edge experimental NMR research with a high probability of enabling beneficial new applications. The Prize recipient(s) will also deliver the opening Plenary lecture at the ENC conference.

Nominations for the Laukien Prize are now being accepted, and the award will be announced at the next ENC. Preference will be given to recently published research. However, in some cases, the Laukien Prize may be awarded for cumulative achievements over a longer period.

Consider Submitting a Nomination for ENC 2022

Nomination deadline is October 31

To Make a Nomination 

The nomination deadline for ENC 2021 was December 14, 2020. Please consider making a nomination next year for the ENC 2022.

Nominations should include the following and be submitted by October 31: Name of nominee, the nominee's affiliation, address, phone, email; name of nominator, address, phone, email; a brief (no more than 200 words) description of the work serving as the basis for the nomination; and a list of relevant publications (no more than 5). Please send submissions by email to enc@enc-conference.org

View listing of Past Recipients of the Gunther Laukien Prize

2020 Recipients

Three scientists share the 2020 Laukien Prize for the development of SABRE (Signal Amplification by Reversible Exchange.)

Simon Duckett received his B.Sc. (1986) and Ph.D. degrees (1990) from the University of York, where he worked with Prof. Robin Perutz (FRS) on probing hydrosilylation by NMR. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Rochester he explored C-H and C-S bond breaking by NMR before utilising parahydrogen with Prof. Richard Eisenberg. He implemented INEPT based transfer protocols to aid in 13C signal detection and achieved the detection of a key reaction intermediate involved in hydrogenation by Wilkinson’s catalyst.

Simon returned to the University of York in 1993 as a lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry. He became Professor of Chemistry in 2005 and received the 2008 Royal Society of Chemistry Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Prize, and the 2018 Tilden Prize for his work with parahydrogen. Simon is currently chairperson for the NMR discussion group of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Simon has developed a variety of NMR methods and instrumentation to address chemical problems through the lens of hyperpolarisation. Early work demonstrated how parahydrogen facilitates reaction intermediate detection. He developed methods to sensitise heteronuclei alongside protocols to produce a quantitative response. A noticeable achievement involved differentiating the role of intact species from fragmentation products in cluster catalysis. With Prof. Perutz he constructed an NMR probe where a sample is cooled whilst subject to UV irradiation. The result was the NMR characterisation of highly unstable alkane complexes. Subsequent studies with Prof. Jones used it to create a product that exists as a pure nuclear singlet. More recently, with Prof. Perutz and Dr. Halse he precisely mapped the propagation of parahydrogen derived spin order at high field.

In 2009, Simon published several papers with Prof. Green on the signal amplification by reversible exchange (SABRE) effect. SABRE involves the reversible and yet simultaneous binding of parahydrogen and a suitable receptor to a metal complex. His group first used the INEPT protocol, in high field, to sensitise the 15N centre of a ligand in order to created hyperpolarised material in free solution after ligand loss. Subsequently, his group demonstrated that 1H, 13C, 15N and 19F signals could be sensitised in low magnetic field without the need for radio frequency excitation, SABRE. By now, a wide range of molecules have been hyperpolarised and detected in the Earth’s field, on benchtop instruments and in high field systems. Automated data collection under SABRE in collaboration with Bruker allowed traditional 2-dimensional data sets to be utilised alongside fast methods. The results of SABRE were rationalised in a density operator study which mapped how the singlet spin order of parahydrogen creates a variety of terms including identical singlet spin order in a two spin receptor. Subsequent developments led to the discovery that replacement of the catalysts phosphine ligand by a carbene vastly improved performance. Through such optimisations 63% 1H polarisation, 79% 15N polarisation and 23% 13C longitudinal spin order has been created in seconds. Other studies have used SABRE to create hyperpolarised singlet states and the hyperpolarisation of materials without the need for them to interact directly with parahydrogen demonstrated. Here, hyperpolarised proton or ligand exchange facilitates spin order relay into the nuclei of complexes, alcohols, amides and carboxylic acids (etc). His research group also recognised how weakly interacting ligands like pyruvate could through suitable catalyst design become hyperpolarised via SABRE.

Simon’s current research continues to extend the range of materials and applications suitable for SABRE. His present program involves studies in the fields of photochemistry, catalysis, MRI and the assessment of biofluids.

Konstantin Ivanov was born in 1977 in Novosibirsk, Russia. He received his B. S. (1998) and M. S. (2000) degrees from the Novosibirsk State University, Faculty of Physics. In 2002 he completed his PhD at the International Tomography Center (ITC), Novosibirsk, working under supervision of Profs. Renad Sagdeev and Nikita Lukzen. Konstantin’s interest in NMR problems, notably, in spin hyperpolarization, was stimulated by a collaboration with Dr. Alexandra Yurkovskaya and Prof. Hans-Martin Vieth. Accordingly, he spent time as a postdoc and Humboldt fellow at the Free University of Berlin with Prof. Vieth: During those visits the first results were obtained that revealed the role of level anti-crossings (LACs) in low-field hyperpolarization experiments, polarization transfer and nuclear spin relaxation in scalar-coupled spin networks at low fields.

After returning to Novosibirsk, Prof. Ivanov continued to work at the ITC and in 2018 he became director of the Institute. He defended his habilitation thesis in 2007 and after that initiated experiments on parahydrogen induced polarization (PHIP). Christian Griesinger and Rob Kaptein introduced the Novosibirsk team to SABRE, which at the time was an intriguing new hyperpolarization method. The previous work of Ivanov on polarization transfer and avoided crossings provided an excellent background for interpreting the field dependence of SABRE. Thus, in a 2013 break-through paper, Ivanov and coauthors proposed to assign features in field dependent SABRE spectra to LACs in organometallic complexes with parahydrogen. This approach enabled an analytical treatment of the spin dynamics, providing a clue to the positions of the spectral features and developing sign rules for the polarization. In later publications, the LAC-based concept was confirmed experimentally by Ivanov and coworkers, which included a study of the SABRE field dependence spanning the range from 10 nT to 9.4 T. Thus, Ivanov developed a comprehensive theory to describe the time and field dependence of SABRE and proposed methods for ultrasensitive indirect NMR detection of complexes with molecular hydrogen (in cooperation with Prof. Gerd Buntkowsky).

Initially, SABRE was constrained to low-fields, which required fast field-cycling for detecting enhanced signals by high-resolution NMR methods. Ivanov suggested this problem could be circumvented with efficient pulse sequences for transfer of spin order from the parahydrogen-nascent protons to magnetic nuclei of a target substrate molecule. Two different approaches were pursued, exploiting coherence transfer (in an INEPT fashion) or LACs in the rotating frame (in this case RF-fields are used to mimic low-field conditions in high-field experiments). These methods allow one to polarize both protons and hetero-nuclei and avoid the demanding field-cycling step that reduces unwanted relaxation losses of polarization and permanently keeps the sample at a high magnetic field. Methods using adiabatic passage through LACs in the rotating frame have turned out to be very efficient for other NMR experiments, notably, experiments with long-lived singlet states. To increase the signal gain even further, Ivanov and coworkers proposed repetition of the polarization process using selective NMR excitation. A very recent finding, which is now being studied in more detail is that the actual spin state of molecular hydrogen in real PHIP/SABRE experiments can be rapidly altered to produce hyperpolarized triplet H2, i.e., orthohydrogen. As a consequence, the lifetime of the singlet spin order of H2 is limited and NMR pulse sequences, which are utilized to generate the parahydrogen-derived signal enhancement, need to be modified to achieve the highest possible enhancement.

Currently, Prof. Ivanov is interested not only in PHIP/SABRE but also in other hyperpolarization methods, notably, DNP and CIDNP; he is pushing forward the methodologies of long-lived spin states in NMR, zero and ultralow field NMR and fast field-cycling NMR. He is actively involved in teaching magnetic resonance at summer schools for early-stage researchers and for students at the Novosibirsk State University.

Warren S. Warren is currently at Duke University, where he is the James B. Duke Professor of Physics, Chemistry, Radiology, and Biomedical Engineering; former chair of Physics (2015-2018) and Chemistry (2007-2012); and director of the Center for Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging. He also leads the Physical and Materials Science editor group at Science Advances, the open-access version of Science. He received his A.B. degree in Chemistry and Physics summa cum laude from Harvard in 1977, and his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1980 for work with Alexander Pines, where his work on selective excitation of multiple-quantum coherences was recognized with the 1982 ACS Nobel Signature Award. He did his postdoctoral work with Ahmed Zewail at Caltech until 1982, when he moved to Princeton, where he remained until moving to Duke in 2005.

Warren’s research interests and 300+ papers reflect advances in fundamental physics or technology, with applications in extremely complex systems. In magnetic resonance, his independent work in the 1980s included developments of rf pulse shaping (including the first “narrow reject” shaped pulses and the average Hamiltonian treatment of pulse shaping). After that, a major focus of his efforts was the discovery and exploration of intermolecular multiple-quantum coherences in solution, which showed a fundamental limitation in the traditional density matrix treatment of NMR and generated applications such as improved temperature imaging. He also was the first to show that solution NMR quantum computing would never be scalable. More recently, his work on long-lived nuclear spin states showed that it was possible to access protected states between chemically equivalent spins, giving lifetimes up to tens of minutes. This work evolved into the beginnings of his work on extended SABRE sequences (X-SABRE), such as LIGHT-SABRE and SABRE-SHEATH, which increased the generality of the SABRE method and are the basis for the Laukien award. He was also the 2004 ENC chair. In parallel, his optics group has been at the forefront of femtosecond laser pulse shaping, developments of phase cycling in optical multidimensional spectroscopy, and applications ranging from clinical melanoma diagnosis to art conservation. He chaired the American Physical Society Division of Laser Science in 2010; in that role he helped coordinate Laserfest, the worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the laser.

Warren is a fellow of APS, AAAS, OSA, and SPIE, and in the inaugural group of fellows of ISMAR. Among other recognitions, he received the 2018 Meggers Medal and 2015 Mees Medal of the Optical Society of America, the 2017 Liversidge Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the 2011 Herbert Broida Prize of the American Physical Society, one of the first McKnight Innovation Awards in Neuroscience, and two Outstanding Academic Title awards (American Library Association) for his undergraduate textbook, The Physical Basis of Chemistry.

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