Venkatesh, Amrit, Gilles Casano, Yu Rao, Federico De Biasi, Frédéric A. Perras, Dominik J. Kubicki, Didier Siri, et al. “Deuterated TEKPol Biradicals and the Spin‐Diffusion Barrier in MAS DNP.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, June 22, 2023, e202304844.
The sensitivity of NMR spectroscopy is considerably enhanced by dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP). In DNP polarization is transferred from unpaired electrons of a polarizing agent to nearby proton spins. In solids, this transfer is followed by the transport of hyperpolarization to the bulk via 1H-1H spin diffusion. The efficiency of these steps is critical to obtain high sensitivity gains, but the pathways for polarization transfer in the region near the unpaired electron spins are unclear. Here we report a series of seven deuterated and one fluorinated TEKPol biradicals to probe the effect of deprotonation on MAS DNP at 9.4 T. The experimental results are interpreted with numerical simulations, and our findings support that strong hyperfine couplings to nearby protons determine high transfer rates across the spin diffusion barrier to achieve short build-up times and high enhancements. Specifically, 1H DNP build-up times increase substantially with TEKPol isotopologues that have fewer hydrogen atoms in the phenyl rings, suggesting that these protons play a crucial role transferring the polarization to the bulk. Based on this new understanding, we have designed a new biradical, NaphPol, which yields significantly increased NMR sensitivity, making it the best performing DNP polarizing agent in organic solvents to date.