Unconventional Shale Gas Consortium

Oxford Instruments MARAN Ultra Benchtop NMR Analyzer

Low Resolution NMR: MARAN Ultra
The Ultra excels in its research applications, where programmability and real-time interactive software control put full power into the hands of the expert user. Real time signals can be observed on the PC monitor while acquisition parameters are adjusted "on the fly", and parameter sets can be saved and recalled. The Ultra is able to collect large data sets, useful for accurate T2 determinations especially where multiple T2s may be present. Sets of measurements using different parameters can be sequenced through Visual Basic scripting without user intervention, using Active-X TM, from Excel, Matlab or similar programs.

Oxford Instruments' WinFit and WinDXP software packages are available for fitting of relaxation data into multiple or distributed exponentials, respectively. Packages are also available for droplet size and diffusion measurements.

Main Features:
  • 2 MHz operating frequency, for sensitivity and short dead times
  • Sample sizes 10 mm - 26 mm diameter
  • Liquid and gas-flow controlled Variable Temperature accessories
  • Bipolar pulsed field gradients for diffusion and profiling experiments
  • Real-time interactive control for setup and optimisation
  • User programmable, with pulse sequence source code provided
  • Standard customisable routines for T1 and T2 determinations


Oxford Instruments Magnetic Resonance, the leading supplier of low-field benchtop nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology, offers a range of GeoSpec rock analyzers including the MARAN Ultra. The University of Oklahoma uses a total of seven of these instruments in undergraduate education and research.

According to Dr. Carl Sondergeld, professor and associate dean of the University of Oklahoma's Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, the instruments are ideal for evaluating the petrophysical properties of rocks, allowing petroleum engineers to characterize a reservoir and conduct economic evaluations of its potential.

"NMR is a technology of the future that we are introducing to a new generation of petroleum engineers", said Dr. Sondergeld, who uses the instruments in petrophysics and reservoir mechanics courses, as well as for conducting research. "It is absolutely essential that we focus on exposing our undergraduates to this technology and give them hands on experience so they can bring this knowledge with them when they are employed in industry. NMR provides more accurate information, potentially allowing oil companies to produce oil and gas more efficiently."

Students use the MARAN Ultra instruments to run a series of experiments on rocks to obtain measurements of porosity, capillary bound fluid, free or producible fluid, and pore body distribution and size. The instrument runs at the same frequency as downhole NMR logging tools (2MHz), so information from core measurements is directly applicable to the interpretation of downhole logs. In addition, the instrument is being used in research establishing a framework for interpretation of NMR in shale reservoirs.

The MARAN Ultra is a versatile, low cost benchtop imaging system now available with a graphic user interface to facilitate image acquisition. The system can be used to conduct a wide variety of MRI and bulk NMR experiments and is specifically designed for research use. Depending on individual user requirements, the modular design of the MARAN Ultra allows for various configuration options and therefore offers outstanding functionality.

The MARAN Ultra has been designed to offer flexibility to the research user of low-field NMR. Its real-time interactive software puts full power into the hands of the expert user. Real-time signals can be observed on the analyzer's PC monitor while acquisition parameters are adjusted "on the fly", and parameter sets can be saved and recalled. The MARAN Ultra is able to collect large data sets, useful for accurate T2 determinations, especially where multiple T2s may be present. Sets of measurements using different parameters can be sequenced through Visual Basic scripting without user intervention, using ActiveX™, from Excel, Matlab or similar programs.

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