Category Archives: Spin Diffusion

Three-spin solid effect and the spin diffusion barrier in amorphous solids #DNPMR

Tan, Kong Ooi, Michael Mardini, Chen Yang, Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen, and Robert G. Griffin. “Three-Spin Solid Effect and the Spin Diffusion Barrier in Amorphous Solids.” Science Advances 5, no. 7 (July 2019): eaax2743.

Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) has evolved as the method of choice to enhance NMR signal intensities and to address a variety of otherwise inaccessible chemical, biological and physical questions. Despite its success, there is no detailed understanding of how the large electron polarization is transferred to the surrounding nuclei or where these nuclei are located relative to the polarizing agent. To address these questions we perform an analysis of the three-spin solid effect, and show that it is exquisitely sensitive to the electron-nuclear distances. We exploit this feature and determine that the size of the spin diffusion barrier surrounding the trityl radical in a glassy glycerol–water matrix is <6 Å, and that the protons involved in the initial transfer step are on the trityl molecule. 1H ENDOR experiments indicate that polarization is then transferred in a second step to glycerol molecules in intimate contact with the trityl.

Electron-driven spin diffusion supports crossing the diffusion barrier in MAS DNP #DNPNMR

Wittmann, Johannes J., Michael Eckardt, Wolfgang Harneit, and Björn Corzilius. “Electron-Driven Spin Diffusion Supports Crossing the Diffusion Barrier in MAS DNP.” Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 20, no. 16 (2018): 11418–29.

Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) can be applied to enhance the sensitivity of solid-state NMR experiments by several orders of magnitude due to microwave-driven transfer of spin polarization from unpaired electrons to nuclei. While the underlying quantum mechanical aspects are sufficiently well understood on a microscopic level, the exact description of the large-scale spin dynamics, usually involving hundreds to thousands of nuclear spins per electron, is still lacking consensus. Generally, it is assumed that nuclear hyperpolarization can only be observed on nuclei which do not experience strong influence of the unpaired electrons and thus being significantly removed from the paramagnetic polarizing agents. At the same time, sufficiently strong hyperfine interaction is required for DNP transfer. Therefore, efficient nuclear spin diffusion from the strongly-interacting nuclei to the NMR-observable bulk is considered to be essential for efficient nuclear hyperpolarization. Based on experimental results obtained on the endohedral fullerene N@C60 as a polarizing agent sparsely diluted in C60, we discuss the effect of the spin-diffusion barrier. We introduce electron-driven spin diffusion (EDSD) as a novel mechanism for nuclear polarization transfer in the proximity of an electron spin which is particularly relevant under magic-angle spinning (MAS) DNP conditions.

Dynamic Nuclear Polarization as Kinetically Constrained Diffusion #DNPNMR

Karabanov, A., et al., Dynamic Nuclear Polarization as Kinetically Constrained Diffusion. Phys. Rev. Lett., 2015. 115(2): p. 020404.

Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) is a promising strategy for generating a significantly increased nonthermal spin polarization in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and its applications that range from medicine diagnostics to material science. Being a genuine nonequilibrium effect, DNP circumvents the need for strong magnetic fields. However, despite intense research, a detailed theoretical understanding of the precise mechanism behind DNP is currently lacking. We address this issue by focusing on a simple instance of DNP-so-called solid effect DNP-which is formulated in terms of a quantum central spin model where a single electron is coupled to an ensemble of interacting nuclei. We show analytically that the nonequilibrium buildup of polarization heavily relies on a mechanism which can be interpreted as kinetically constrained diffusion. Beyond revealing this insight, our approach furthermore permits numerical studies of ensembles containing thousands of spins that are typically intractable when formulated in terms of a quantum master equation. We believe that this represents an important step forward in the quest of harnessing nonequilibrium many-body quantum physics for technological applications.

Measuring Nano- to Microstructures from Relayed Dynamic Nuclear Polarization NMR #DNPNMR

Pinon, A.C., et al., Measuring Nano- to Microstructures from Relayed Dynamic Nuclear Polarization NMR. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2017. 121(29): p. 15993-16005.

We show how dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) NMR can be used in combination with models for polarization dynamics to determine the domain sizes in complex materials. By selectively doping a source component with radicals and leaving the target undoped, we can measure experimental polarization buildup curves which can be compared with simulations based on heterogeneous distributions of polarization within the sample. The variation of the integrated DNP enhancement as a function of the polarization time is found to be characteristic of the geometry. We demonstrate the method experimentally on four different systems where we successfully determine domain sizes between 200 and 20 000 nm, specifically in powdered histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, pore lengths of mesoporous silica materials, and two domain sizes in two-component polymer film coatings. Additionally, we find that even in the apparently homogeneous frozen solutions used as polarization sources in most DNP experiments, polarization is relayed from protons near the radicals to the bulk of the solution by spin diffusion, which explains the experimentally observed buildup times in these samples.

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