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  1. Nuclear spin singlet states are often found to allow long-lived storage of nuclear magnetization, which can form the basis of novel applications in spectroscopy, imaging, and in studies of dynamic processes. Precisely how long such polarization remains intact, and which factors affect its lifetime is often difficult to determine and predict. We present a combined experimental/computational study to demonstrate that molecular dynamics simulations and ab initio calculations can be used to fully account for the experimentally observed proton singlet lifetimes in ethyl-d 5 -propyl-d 7 -maleate in deuterated chloroform as solvent. The correspondence between experiment and simulations is achieved without adjustable parameters. These studies highlight the importance of considering unusual and difficult-to-control mechanisms, such as dipolar couplings to low-gamma solvent nuclei, and to residual paramagnetic species, which often can represent lifetime limiting factors. These results also point to the power of molecular dynamics simulations to provide insights into little-known NMR relaxation mechanisms. 
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  2. The examination and optimized preparation of nuclear spin singlet order has enabled the development of new types of applications that rely on potentially long-term polarization storage. Lifetimes several orders of magnitude longer than T 1 have been observed. The efficient creation of such states relies on special pulse sequences. The extreme cases of very large and very small magnetic equivalence received primary attention, while relatively little effort has been directed towards studying singlet relaxation in the intermediate regime. The intermediate case is of interest as it is relevant for many spin systems, and would also apply to heteronuclear systems in very low magnetic fields. Experimental evidence for singlet–triplet leakage in the intermediate regime is sparse. Here we describe a pulse sequence for efficiently creating singlets in the intermediate regime in a broad-band fashion. Singlet lifetimes are studied with a specially synthesized molecule over a wide range of magnetic fields using a home-built sample-lift apparatus. The experimental results are supplemented with spin simulations using parameters obtained from ab initio calculations. This work indicates that the chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) mechanism is relatively weak compared to singlet–triplet leakage for the proton system observed over a large magnetic field range. These experiments provide a mechanism for expanding the scope of singlet NMR to a larger class of molecules, and provide new insights into singlet lifetime limiting factors. 
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