Knight shift

Knight shift

The Knight shift is a shift in the nuclear magnetic resonance frequency of a paramagnetic substance first published in 1949 by the American physicist Walter David Knight.

The Knight shift is due to the conduction electrons in metals. They introduce an "extra" effective field at the nuclear site, due to the spin orientations of the conduction electrons in the presence of an external field. This is responsible for the shift observed in the nuclear magnetic resonance. The shift comes from two sources, one is the Pauli paramagnetic spin susceptibility, the other is the s-component wavefunctions at the nucleus.

Depending on the electronic structure, Knight shift may be temperature dependent. However, in metals which normally have a broad featureless electronic density of states, Knight shifts are temperature independent.


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