Jardón-Álvarez, Daniel, and Michal Leskes. “Metal Ions Based Dynamic Nuclear Polarization: MI-DNP.” Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, August 22, 2023.
Over the last two decades magic angle spinning dynamic nuclear polarization (MAS DNP) has revolutionized NMR for materials characterization, tackling its main limitation of intrinsically low sensitivity. Progress in theoretical understanding, instrumentation, and sample formulation expanded the range of materials applications and research questions that can benefit from MAS DNP. Currently the most common approach for hyperpolarization under MAS consists in impregnating the sample of interest with a solution containing nitroxide radicals, which upon microwave irradiation serve as exogenous polarizing agents. On the other hand, in metal ion based (MI)-DNP, inorganic materials are doped with paramagnetic metal centres, which then can be used as endogenous polarizing agents. In this work we give an overview of the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) concepts required to characterize the metal ions and discuss the expected changes in the NMR response due to the presence of paramagnetic species. We highlight which properties of the electron spins are beneficial for applications as polarizing agents in DNP and how to recognize them, both from the EPR and NMR data. A theoretical description of the main DNP mechanisms is given, employing a quantum mechanical formalism, and these concepts are used to explain the spin dynamics observed in the DNP experiment. In addition, we highlight the main differences between MI-DNP and the more common approaches in MAS DNP, which use organic radicals as exogenous polarizing source. Finally, we review some applications of metal ions as polarizing agents in general and then focus particularly on research questions in materials science that can benefit from MI-DNP.