Some NMR experiments can be halted partway through the acquisition and still give perfectly valid results: The traditional 1H experiment for example. Others, like a Saturation Transfer Difference Spectrum will have errors in the magnitude of the peaks in it if it is halted, due to the fact it uses groups of pulses and takes the difference of between them.

Can the standard proton-proton NOESY pulse sequence be halted halfway through and give a usable spectrum, or will this introduce artifacts?


There are two big differences between the STD experiment and a NOESY that matter when aborting the experiment early. The STD is usually run as a 1D experiment, and it's using the phase cycle to substract the on- and off-resonance spectra from each other.

When you acquire a 1D spectrum with multiple scans, the scans are not saved individually but directly added up to one FID, at least on Bruker spectrometers. So if you abort a 1D experiment (you need to execute tr to do that in most cases, as the FID is only written to disk after all scans are finished in most pulse sequences), you can't just throw away the last incomplete phasy cycle. And with experiments like the STD, your actual signal is the difference of two larger signals, so one incomplete substraction can ruin your spectrum.

In a 2D spectrum the increments for the indirect dimension are measured and written to disk sequentially, so you can throw away the last incomplete increment if you would need to. In most cases the incomplete increment will not be saved at all to disk, so you'll end up with one less data point in the indirect dimension, but no incomplete ones that were aborted in the middle of the phase cycle. This depends on how exactly the pulse program is written, but I suspect that most standard sequences handle it this way.

I've stopped HSQC and NOESY spectra before they were finished pretty often, and never observed any artifacts that could be traced to the abortion of the experiment.


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