Four millimeter spherical rotors spinning at 28 kHz with double-saddle coils for cross polarization NMR #DNPNMR

Gao, Chukun, Patrick T. Judge, Erika L. Sesti, Lauren E. Price, Nicholas Alaniva, Edward P. Saliba, Brice J. Albert, Nathan J. Soper, Pin-Hui Chen, and Alexander B. Barnes. “Four Millimeter Spherical Rotors Spinning at 28 KHz with Double-Saddle Coils for Cross Polarization NMR.” Journal of Magnetic Resonance 303 (June 2019): 1–6.

Spherical rotors in magic angle spinning (MAS) experiments have significant advantages over traditional cylindrical rotors including simplified spinning implementation, easy sample exchange, more efficient microwave coupling for dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP), and feasibility of downscaling to access higher spinning frequencies. Here, we implement spherical rotors with 4 mm outside diameter (o.d.) and demonstrate spinning > 28 kHz using a single aperture for spinning gas. We show a modified stator geometry to improve fiber optic detection, increase NMR filling factor, and improve alignment for sample exchange and microwave irradiation. Higher NMR Rabi frequencies were obtained using smaller radiofrequency (RF) coils on small-diameter spherical rotors, compared to our previous implementation of MAS spheres with an o.d. of 9.5 mm. We report nutation fields of 110 kHz on 13C with 820 W of input power and 100 kHz on 1H with 800 W of input power. Proton decoupling fields of 78 kHz were applied over 20 ms of signal acquisition without any sign of arcing. Compared to our initial demonstration of a split coil for 9.5 mm spheres, this current implementation of a double-saddle coil inductor for 4 mm spheres not only intensifies the RF fields, but also improves RF homogeneity. We achieve an 810°/90° nutation intensity ratio of 0.84 at 300.197 MHz (1H). We also show electromagnetic simulations predicting a nearly 3-fold improvement in electron Rabi frequency of 0.99 MHz (with 4 mm spheres) compared to 0.38 MHz (with 3.2 mm cylinders), with 5 W of incident microwave power. Further improvements in magnetic resonance spin control are expected as RF inductors and microwave coupling are optimized for spherical rotors and scaled down to the micron scale.

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