In this thesis we investigate the ways in which the sensitivity, resolution and overall performance of an Earth's field NMR system can be improved without significantly compromising its simplicity, portability or affordability. We investigate the limits of the information obtainable using this device and present a range of methods for calculating and analyzing NMR spectroscopy experiments detected in the Earth's magnetic field. We demonstrate significant improvements in the performance of a commercial Earth's field NMR device, the Terranova-MRI, through several apparatus developments. First-order shimming is added to the system in order to counter any
local inhomogeneity of the Earth's field. The spectral resolution of the instrument is further improved through the introduction of a field locking system to counter the natural temporal drift in the magnitude of the Earth's magnetic field. External noise interference is reduced through the use of Faraday screening, effectively increasing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) performance of the device. We explore three signal enhancement methodologies for optimizing the SNR performance of the system. Prepolarization, with an electromagnet as well as a
permanent magnet array, is considered and compared to dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) and hyperpolarization via optical pumping. We present a detailed theoretical discussion of DNP in low-fields and demonstrate the application of this technique for signal enhancement in EFNMR. An apparatus for performing DNP in the Earth's field is presented and optimized. A density matrix approach to simulating one- and two-dimensional Earth's field NMR experiments is presented. These numerical simulations, along with a
perturbation theory approach to calculating one-dimensional EFNMR spectra of tightly coupled heteronuclear systems, are explored and compared to experimental spectra of the tetrahydroborate and ammonium ions. These systems are of particular interest for NMR detected in the Earth's field because they contain strongly coupled nuclei of differing spin, a situation previously unexplored in the literature.
Multi-dimensional Earth's field NMR spectroscopy methods, in particular the correlation spectroscopy (COSY) experiment, are implemented and optimized through the use of shimming, field stabilization and noise screening. The 2D COSY spectrum of monofluorobenzene is analyzed and compared to calculated spectra in
order to determine the indirect spin-spin coupling constants of this molecule in the Earth's magnetic field. A 2D COSY spectrum of 1,4-difluorobenzene is also presented and compared to simulation. The SNR performance of COSY in the Earth's field is greatly improved through the use of DNP for signal enhancement. A high-quality, 2D COSY EFNMR spectrum with DNP acquired from 2,2,2-
trifluoroethanol is presented and compared to simulation. The particular features of this spectrum, which result from the use of DNP for signal enhancement, are discussed with reference to a density matrix simulation and to a one-dimensional spectrum calculated using perturbation theory. The strong indirect spin-spin coupling regime in fields weaker than the Earth's
magnetic field is explored through exact calculations and density matrix simulations of a 13C-enriched methyl group. A novel multi-dimensional EFNMR method for observing such spectra is discussed. This experiment allows for the resolution of strongly coupled NMR spectra both in the Earth's magnetic field, in the directly
detected domain, and in weaker fields, in the indirectly detected domain. In the final section of this thesis, residual dipolar coupling is observed by
EFNMR for the first time in a system of poly-[gamma]-benzyl-L-glutamate (PBLG) in dichloromethane. The form of the EFNMR spectrum of this liquid crystalline system is discussed and compared to equivalent high-field (9.4T) spectra.