Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
In 1986 Lyndon Emsley graduated with a degree in chemistry from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, and then accepted a position with a firm training to be a patent lawyer. He soon realized the error of his ways, entered graduate school at the Université de Lausanne, and in 1991 completed his PhD performing NMR spectroscopy of solutions. His advisor was Geoffrey Bodenhausen and his thesis introduced shaped selective pulses that were capable of yielding in-phase excitation culminating in Gaussian pulse cascades. These experiments are still employed for band-selective inversion and excitation. Lyndon performed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, as a Fellow of the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, working with Alex Pines, where he was introduced to solid-state NMR. At that time the group was working on an exciting variety of different approaches to obtain isotropic NMR spectra from solids, and on experiments to correlate isotropic and anisotropic lineshapes in two- and three-dimensional experiments.
In 1993 he moved to the French National Laboratory for Atomic Energy Research in Grenoble, and in 1994 was appointed to a Professorship at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon. In 2003 he was made the project leader for the creation of a European Laboratory for Very High Field NMR, which was completed in 2008 with the delivery of a spectrometer operating at 1 GHz, at the time was the world’s highest field, high-resolution NMR spectrometer. In 2014 he accepted a position as Professor of Physical Chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where from 2016 to 2020 he was director of the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC). For the last decade he served as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
During his independent research career, Lyndon has always focused on the development of new NMR spectroscopy techniques to determine the atomic-level structure and dynamics of complex materials and molecular systems, and to solve a range of problems across disciplines. These advances have been made through the introduction of new concepts in NMR spectroscopy to increase sensitivity and resolution, notably applications of dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) to problems in materials research. Apart from methods related to DNP, he has also focussed on methods to obtain high resolution 1H spectra in solids, with the introduction of the DUMBO family of decoupling sequences, and methods to obtain new types of multi-dimensional correlations, principally using scalar couplings in solids. Most recently he has developed new computational methods to model structure and to efficiently predict and extract NMR chemical shifts in solids.
Anne Lesage was born in 1969 in the small wine-producing town of Condrieu. She currently leads a group working on hyperpolarized solid-state NMR at the High Field NMR Center (CRMN) in Lyon, France, a unit affiliated with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon) and the Université Claude Bernard de Lyon (UCBL). Anne received her undergraduate education as an engineer, and in 1995 her PhD degree in biophysics at the Ecole Centrale de Paris. A year earlier in 1994, she accepted a permanent CNRS position in the Chemistry Department of the ENS de Lyon, where, in a long collaboration with Prof. Lyndon Emsley, she began working on the development and application of new solid-state NMR methods. With her engineering background and her interdisciplinary experience, Lesage assumed a role of technical support and development while continuing her outstanding scientific research. Notably she and Lyndon Emsley installed the first 1 GHz NMR spectrometer in Lyon and organized the CMRN around it. From 2013 to 2022, she was a leader of the French National High-Field NMR Infrastructure program, first as Deputy Director and then as Director. On a European level, she was a founding member of the excellent Alpine Conference on Solid-State NMR. Currently, she is co-coordinating PANACEA, a European Infrastructure project composed of a group of 12 international partners, with the goal of providing access to cutting edge instrumentation and experiments in solid-state NMR.
Anne’s many outstanding scientific contributions include the development of scalar-based solid-state NMR methods. An early effort involved the demonstration that J-coupling based INADEQUATE-type experiments could be implemented in rigid solids, including in disordered systems where linewidths exceed J coupling values by several orders of magnitude. She has also worked on understanding the origin of line broadening in solids, developing innovative approaches to increase proton resolution. More recently, Lesage was involved in the development of dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) in solids, pioneering its application to the characterization of functionalized surfaces. Specifically, she demonstrated that large sensitivity gains could be achieved in porous and non-porous materials leading to information that was previously not available in solid-state NMR spectra. These experiments opened new avenues for the structural investigation of a wide range of systems including metal organic frameworks, pharmaceuticals, colloids, polymer thin films, and many other systems. She is also active in the development of new polarizing agents for DNP at high field and fast magic angle spinning, for example hybrid and bis-nitroxide radicals. Some of her recent work includes implementation of innovative strategies to selectively probe the three-dimensional structure of supported organometallic catalysts in complex, multisite environments, which has revealed unexpected coordination geometries having no equivalent in homogeneous catalysis.
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