Understanding Peaks Like Singlet, Doublet, Triplet, Quartet, and Multiplet


As an organic chemistry student you will likely come across the topic of hydrogen spectroscopy more specifically referred to as H-NMR hydrogen or proton NMR.There are many aspects that you will have to analyze on the graph, the most important of which are the types of splitting exhibited by the individual peaks. In this article I will explain the name and appearance of the basic signals

Splitting on H-NMR comes from hydrogen neighbors. If you isolate the hydrogen atoms in question, you want to look at the carbon holding these H’s, and then see how many hydrogen atoms are attached DIRECTLY to the neighboring carbon. This allows you to form the following connectivity

H – C – C – H

A hydrogen atom can have anywhere from zero 9 hydrogen neighbors (think of the central carbon in tertiary butyl molecule)

Every hydrogen starts out a single peak when analyzed by itself. When analyzed in the presence of it’s neighbors, every peak will be split once, meaning you add an additional tip, for each extra hydrogen neighbor


A singlet, as the name implies is a single peak without any splitting. This implies that the hydrogen responsible for its peak does not have any H-neighbors


When you see 2 tall tips on your graph you have what is considered a doublet. This implies that the hydrogen responsible for this peak has just 1 H-neighbor. A doublet will have 2 tips that are approximately the same height


When you see 3 tips such that the middle tip is approximately 3 times as high as the 2 outer tips, you have a peak called a triplet. This implies that the hydrogen atom responsible for this peak has 2 H-neighbors


When you see a signal with 4 tips such that the 2 inner ones are relatively tall and approximately the same height while the 2 outer tips are relatively short, you have a quartet. This is formed by having 3 H-neighbors to the hydrogen atom in question


Once you reach a signal of more than 4 tips you can still assign specific name values, or you can simply call it a multiplet, meaning it has multiple tips. These of course refer to more than 3 neighboring H-atoms as follows:

Quintet: 4 neighbors

Sextet: 5 neighbors

Septet: 6 neighbors

You will most likely NOT be responsible for identifying or naming peaks with more than 6 neighbors. If they do show up, simply call them ‘multiplet’


Source by Leah Fisch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.