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How to Interpret an HSQC-COSY Experiment

Where a COSY or TOCSY spectrum can be a challenge for a structure with severe spectral overlap, collecting an HSQC-TOCSY spectrum can be a better choice. An HSQC-TOCSY experiment stands for Heteronuclear Single Quantum Coherence-Total Correlation Spectroscopy and other variants include HMQC-TOCSY, HSQC-COSY, etc. Depending on the mixing time, the hybrid experiment generally offers information on both short-range and long-range coupled nuclei.

For the diol fragment below, 1H-13C HSQC correlations are expected for C-H atoms labeled 4, 5 and 9.


On the 1H-13C IDR-HSQC-COSY spectrum below, the three HSQC signals are phased negative (blue). (Note: the acronym IDR stands for Inverted Direct Response.) If a rectangle is draw connecting two HSQC signals, the COSY signals (phased positive) are located at the opposite corners of the rectangle. The spectrum shows a COSY correlation between protons 4 and 5, and between protons 4 and 9.