Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) is a methodology to increase the sensitivity of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. It relies on the transfer of the electron spin polarization from a radical to coupled nuclear spins, driven by microwave excitation resonant with the electron spin transitions. In this work we explore the potential of pulsed multi-frequency microwave excitation in liquids. Here, the relevant DNP mechanism is the Overhauser effect. The experiments were performed with TEMPOL radicals in aqueous solution at room temperature using a Q-band frequency (1.2 T) electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer combined with a Minispec NMR spectrometer. A fast arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) enabled the generation of multi-frequency pulses used to either sequentially or simultaneously excite all three 14N-hyperfine lines of the nitroxide radical. The multi-frequency excitation resulted in a doubling of the observed DNP enhancements compared to single-frequency microwave excitation. Q-band free induction decay (FID) signals of TEMPOL were measured as a function of the excitation pulse length allowing the efficiency of the electron spin manipulation by the microwave pulses to be extracted. Based on this knowledge we could quantitatively model our pulsed DNP enhancements at 1.2 T by numerical solution of the Bloch equations, including electron spin relaxation and experimental parameters. Our results are in good agreement with theoretical predictions. Whereas for a narrow and homogeneous single EPR line continuous wave excitation leads to more efficient DNP enhancements compared to pulsed excitation for the same amount of averaged microwave power. The situation is different for radicals with several hyperfine lines or in the presence of inhomogeneous line broadening. In such cases pulsed single/multi-frequency excitation can lead to larger DNP enhancements.
Dedicated to: Kev Salikhov on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
This work was supported by the DFG (Pr. 295/17-1). P. Schöps position is funded by the SPP 1601 New Frontiers in Sensitivity for EPR Spectroscopy: From Biological Cells to Nano Materials from DFG. We acknowledge fruitful discussions with Dr. A. Marko, Dr. B. Endeward, Dr. V. Denysenkov and Dr. A. Bowen. The one-dimensional organic conductor samples were a kind gift of Prof. E. Dormann (University Karlsruhe).
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