Extended DISPersion-Absorption (eDISPA) approach to
Automatic Phasing of HR-NMR Spectra

POSTER by aCarlos Cobas, bStanislav Sykora
aMestrelab Research, Santiago de Compostela, Spain     bExtra Byte, Castano Primo, Italy

presented at

48th ENC Conference, Daytona Beach, FL (USA), April 22-27, 2007.

DOWNLOAD full poster: PDF (259 kB) DISPA References | Other NMR Articles and Posters


Phase correction of high-resolution NMR spectra is a routine data processing task. It used to be done by a manual adjustment of the two parameters it involves and it was left to the operator to subjectively judge whether the final result was satisfactory. More recently, due to a growing need for automatic evaluation procedures, phase-correction has become progressively more operator-independent, due to the appearance of a growing list of automatic phasing algorithms [1-3].

We feel, however, that most of these algorithms are not yet satisfactory because, rather than relying on clearly defined global parameters of the spectrum, they entail loosely defined steps such as picking two sufficiently isolated and sufficiently distant peaks. Another problem is that most phase correction algorithms have not been subjected to statistical (Monte-Carlo) tests extensive enough for a quantitative analysis of their bias and error distributions, especially in the presence of severe baseline artefacts. In many practical cases, a manual fine-tuning of the phase after an automatic correction provides a better final result, thus indicating that the phase correction estimators coded into the automatic procedures are not optimal.

Here we present a new algorithm, inspired by the old idea [4] of DISPA (Dispersion-Absorption) plots in which the in-phase component (u) of a spectrum is plotted against its out-of-phase component (v), disregarding the frequency coordinate. The original DISPA was introduced in ESR spectroscopy to help experimentalists phase the ESR signals. It was later used also in NMR to estimate the phases of selected lines with the goal of phasing the whole spectrum [5-7].

We show that, first of all, DISPA plots can be conveniently applied to a complete NMR spectrum, avoiding any a-priori selection or discrimination of particular intervals. In a similar way one can also exploit DISPA-like plots of the (complex) powers of the complex spectral data and/or DISPA-like plots weighed by a power of the magnitude of each data point.

By themselves, such extended DISPA plots can be used as is for interactive, manual phasing of the NMR spectra. More important, however, is the fact that the insights gained from the eDISPA plots make it possible to define real-valued functionals Q of the spectra which, when evaluated as functions Q(φ0,φ1) of the two phase correction angles, exhibit a maximum at the 'correct' phase correction values. Standard numerical maximization of Q with respect to (φ0,φ1) therefore amounts to a new phasing algorithm which is completely objective and void of any a-priori discrimination between various experimental data points. It also has the advantage of being eminently insensitive to baseline imperfections, even those which are severe enough to preclude reliable manual phasing. The only problem which we have had to solve by means other than plain maximization is that of multiple maxima of Q for large φ1 values.

The new, fully automatic (φ0,φ1) estimators have been extensively tested using simulated experimental data with various numbers of spectral lines and various amounts of baseline artifacts and applying Monte Carlo methods. The results show that the estimators are quite robust, their statistical bias is small enough to be negligible, and their mean errors are smaller than those one can reasonably expect from manual phasing.

Note added on April 14, 2007: During the time that elapsed between presenting the Abstract and preparing the poster, some things have slightly changed. The original Abstract talked about a functional to be minimized, while what we ended up actually doing is maximization. Also, it is not quite trye that DISPA was first used in ESR. The first paper talks about radiofrequency and microwave spectrometry and is immediately followed by an application to NMR. The papers dealing specifically with ESR come a bit later. Also, we have collected what might well be a complete list of titled DISPA references and make it available here.

DISPA (Dispersion versus Absorption) REFERENCES:

  • Marshall A.G., Roe D.C.,
    Dispersion versus Absorption:
    Spectral Line Shape Analysis for Radiofrequencyand Microwave Spectrometry
    Anal.Chem. 50, 756-763 (1978).
  • Roe D.C., Marshall A.G., Smallcombe S.H.,
    Dispersion versus Absorption:
    Analysis of Line Broadening Mechanisms in Magnetic Resonance Spectrometry
    Anal.Chem. 50, 764-767 (1978).
  • Marshall A.G.,
    Spectroscopic Dispersion vs. Absorption.
    A new Method for Distinguishing a Distribution in Peak Position from a Distribution in Line Width
    J.Phys.Chem. 83, 521 (1979).
  • Marshall A.G., Roe D.C.,
    Dispersion vs absorption (DISPA):
    Effects of digitization, noise, truncation of free induction decay, and zero-filling
    J.Magn.Reson. 33, 551-557 (1979).
  • Herring F.G., Marshall A.G., Phillips P.S., Roe D.C.,
    Dispersion versus absorption (DISPA):
    Modulation broadening and instrumental distortions in electron paramagnetic resonance lineshapes
    J.Magn.Reson. 37, 293-303 (1980).
  • Marshall A.G., Bruce R.E.,
    Dispersion versus absorption (DISPA) lineshape analysis.
    Effects of saturation, adjacent peaks, and simultaneous distribution in peak width and position
    J.Magn.Reson. 39, 47-54 (1980).
  • Wang T-C.L., Marshall A.G.,
    Plots of Dispersion vs. Absorption for Detection of Multiple Positions or Widths of Gaussian Spectral Signals,
    Anal.Chem. 55, 2348-2353 (1983).
  • Phillips P.S., Herring F.G.,
    An evaluation of lineshape analysis in ESR using dispersion vs absorption (DISPA),
    J.Magn.Reson. 57, 43-55 (1984).
  • Sotak C.H., Dumoulin C.L., Newsham M.D.,
    Automatic phase correction of fourier transform NMR spectra
    based on the dispersion versus absorption (DISPA) lineshape analysis
    J.Magn.Reson. 57, 453-462 (1984).
  • Herring F.G., Phillips P.S.,
    Automatic phase correction in magnetic resonance using DISPA,
    J.Magn.Reson. 59, 489-496 (1984).
  • Craig E.C., Marshall A.G.,
    Dispersion versus absorption (DISPA) plots as an index of static magnetic field inhomogeneity.
    Use for adjustment of spinning shims in a superconducting magnet
    J.Magn.Reson. 68, 283-295 (1986).
  • Miglierini M., Liptaj T., Palov R.,
    Wideline NMR lineshape analysis based on modified dispersion versus absorption (DISPA),
    Czechoslovak Journal of Physics 36, 729-739 (1986).
  • Craig E.C., Santoz I., Marshall A.G.,
    Dispersion versus absorption (DISPA) method for automatic phasing of Fourier transform ion cyclotron mass spectra,
    Rapid Commun.Mass.Spectrom. Jun 1(2), 33-37 (1987).
  • Craig E.C., Marshall A.G.,
    Automated phase correction of FT NMR spectra by means of phase measurement
    based on dispersion versus absorption relation (DISPA)
    J.Magn.Reson. 76, 458-475 (1988).
  • Wacher E.A., Sidky E.Y., Farra T.C.,
    Calculation of phase-correction constants using the DISPA phase-angle estimation technique,
    J.Magn.Reson. 82, 352-359 (1989).
  • Migliarini M., Sitek J., Lipka J.,
    DISPA method in the analysis of Mässbauer spectra of metallic glasses,
    Hyperfine Interactions 58, 2667-2670 (1990).
  • Hoffman R.E., Delaglio F., Levy G.C.,
    Phase correction of two-dimensional NMR spectra using DISPA,
    J.Magn.Reson. 98, 231-237 (1992).
  • Koehl P., Ling C., Lefevre J.F.,
    J.Chim.Phys. 92, 1929-1938 (1995).
  • Dzukula Z.,
    Phase Angle Measurement from Peak Areas (PAMPAS),
    J.Magn.Reson. 146, 20-32 (2000).
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