What is shielding and deshielding in NMR? Can you give me an example?

1 Answer
Oct 1, 2015


See explanation.


The basic principle of NMR is to apply an external magnetic field called #B_0# and measure the frequency at which the nucleus achieves resonance.

Electrons orbiting around the nucleus generate a small magnetic field that opposes #B_0#. In this case we say that electrons are shielding the nucleus from #B_0#.

The higher the electron density around the nucleus, the higher the opposing magnetic field to #B_0# from the electrons, the greater the shielding. Because the proton experiences lower external magnetic field, it needs a lower frequency to achieve resonance, and therefore, the chemical shift shifts upfield (lower ppms) .

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If the electron density around a nucleus decreases, the opposing magnetic field becomes small and therefore, the nucleus feels more the external magnetic field #B_0#, and therefore it is said to be deshielded. Because the proton experiences higher external magnetic field, it needs a higher frequency to achieve resonance, and therefore, the chemical shift shifts downfield (higher ppms) .

How would this affect the H NMR spectrum?

Let us compare the chemical shift of #CH_4# protons and #CH_3Cl# protons.
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Chlorine atom is an electronegative atom that will pull the electron density toward it ( electron withdrawing ), resulting in a deshielding of the hydrogen nucleus; an edit will fell higher external magnetic field #B_0# increasing the resonance frequency and therefore, shifting to higher ppms.

Hydrogen nucleus is shielded in the case of #CH_4# and therefore, the peak appears on the lower ppm side.

Images source: Organic Chemistry-Janice Gorzynski Smith 3rd Ed