Faculty - Robert W. Schurko

Dr. Robert W. Schurko - Physical / Inorganic/ Materials Chemistry

Robert W. Schurko

Physical/Inorganic/Materials Chemistry
Ph.D. (Dalhousie)
Cross-Appointed: Department of Physics
253-3000 Ext: 3548
389-1 Essex Hall


As of summer 2019, Dr. Schurko has taken up a position as a Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University, USA.



The primary focus of my research is the development and application of techniques for the acquisition of high quality solid-state NMR (SSNMR) spectra of nuclides across the periodic table - in particular, we focus on designing pulse sequences for efficient acquisition of ultra-wideline NMR spectra.  There are innumerable materials that can be better understood via characterization of structure and dynamics at the molecular level via multinuclear SSNMR techniques.  X-ray diffraction (single-crystal and powder) and first principles calculations of NMR interaction tensors are used along side of SSNMR experiments to develop correlations between NMR parameters and structure, symmetry and dynamics.  These methodologies have found widespread application in the study of traditional small and medium sized molecules in organic, inorganic, biological and organometallic chemistry, as well as inorganic materials, pharmaceuticals, heterogeneous catalysts and associated support materials, polymers, biomolecules, surfaces and nanoparticles.

Over the past ten years, my research group has conducted SSNMR studies utilizing conventional nuclei such as 1H, 2H, 13C, 15N, 19F, 29Si and 31P, as well as more “exotic” nuclei such as 7Li, 9Be, 10/11B, 14N, 17O, 23Na, 25Mg, 27Al, 35/37Cl, 39K, 45Sc, 47/49Ti, 51V, 55Mn, 63/65Cu, 67Zn, 69/71Ga, 75As, 77Se, 85/87Rb, 89Y, 91Zr, 93Nb, 95/97Mo, 103Rh, 107/109Ag, 111/113Cd, 115In, 119Sn, 125Te, 133Cs, 137Ba, 139La, 171Yb, 183W, 195Pt, 199Hg and 207Pb, on a variety of different systems.  Some of my current research interests include:

  1. Development of techniques for improving sensitivity in multinuclear SSNMR experiments, including ultra-wideline NMR methods.
  2. Fundamental origins of NMR interaction tensors.
  3. Applications of SSNMR of unreceptive nuclei
    • Pharmaceuticals: Differentiation of polymorphs, solvates and co-crystalline species
    • Heterogeneous catalysts and pre-cursors probed by SSNMR of metal and halogen nuclides
    • Development and applications of 14N SSNMR
    • Nanoparticles: cores, surfaces and interfaces studied by SSNMR
    • Molecular dynamics in metal-organic rotaxane framework (MORF) materials
    • Mechanochemical synthesis of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs and ZIFs)


  • A.M. Namespetra, D.A. Hirsh, M.P. Hildebrand, A.R. Sandre, H. Hamaed, J.M. Rawson, and R.W. Schurko,* 2016. 35Cl Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy of HCl Pharmaceuticals and their Polymorphs in Bulk and Dosage Forms. Accepted in Cryst. Eng. Comm. June 2016, In Press. DOI: 10.1039/C6CE01069E
  • S.L. Veinberg, K.E. Johnston, M.J. Jaroszewicz, B.M. Kispal, C.R. Mireault, T. Kobayashi, M. Pruski,* and R.W. Schurko,* 2016. Natural Abundance 14N and 15N Solid-State NMR of Pharmaceuticals and their Polymorphs. PCCP 18, 17713 - 17730. DOI: 10.1039/C6CP02855A
  • E. Prack, C.A. O’Keefe, J. Moore, A. Laia, A.J. Lough, P.M. Macdonald, M.S. Conradi, R.W. Schurko,* and Ulrich Fekl,* 2015. A Molecular Rotor Possessing an H-M-H ‘Spoke’ on a P-M-P ‘Axle’: A Platinum(II) trans-Dihydride Spins Rapidly Even at 75 K. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 13464–13467. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b08213
  • D.A. Hirsh, N. Johnson, F.J.C.M. van Veggel and R.W. Schurko*, 2015. The Local Structure of Rare-Earth Fluorides in Bulk and Core/Shell Nanocrystalline Materials. Chem. Mater. 27, 6495–6507 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b01986
  • V.N. Vukotic, C.A. O’Keefe, K. Zhu, K.J. Harris, C. To, R.W. Schurko* and S.J. Loeb*, 2015. Mechanically Interlocked Linkers inside Metal-Organic Frameworks: Effect of Ring Size on Rotational Dynamics. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 9643-9651. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b04674
  • K. Zhu, C.A. O’Keefe, V.N. Vukotic, R.W. Schurko* and Stephen J. Loeb*, 2015. A Molecular Shuttle that Operates Inside a Metal-Organic Framework. Nature Chem. 7, 514-519. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2258
  • M.P. Hildebrand, H. Hamaed, A.M. Namespetra, J.M. Donohue, R. Fu, I. Hung, Z. Gan and R.W. Schurko*, 2014. 35Cl solid-state NMR of HCl salts of active pharmaceutical ingredients: structural prediction, spectral fingerprinting and polymorph recognition Cryst. Eng. Comm. 16, 7334 - 7356. DOI:10.1039/C4CE00544A Invited article.
  • K. Zhu, V.N. Vukotic, C.A. O'Keefe, R.W. Schurko* and S.J. Loeb*, 2014. Metal-Organic Frameworks with Mechanically Interlocked Pillars: Controlling Ring Dynamics in the Solid-State via a Reversible Phase Change. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 7403–7409. DOI:10.1021/ja502238a
  • R.W. Schurko, 2013. Ultra-Wideline Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy. Acc. Chem. Res. 46, 1985–1995. DOI: 10.1021/ar400045t , Invited article.
  • V.N. Vukotic, K.J. Harris, K. Zhu, R.W. Schurko* and S.J. Loeb*, 2012. Robust Dynamics inside a Metal-Organic Framework. Nature Chem. 4, 456-460. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1354
  • R.W. Schurko, 2011.  Acquisition of Wideline Solid-State NMR Spectra of Quadrupolar Nuclei.  Encyc. Magn. Reson. DOI: 10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1199 (REVIEW ARTICLE)

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