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Cryogen-free superconducting magnet system for multifrequency electron paramagnetic resonance up to 12.1 T

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5 Author(s)
Smirnov, A.I. ; Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8204 ; Smirnova, Tatyana I. ; MacArthur, Ryan L. ; Good, J.A.
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Multifrequency and high field/high frequency (HF) electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is a powerful spectroscopy for studying paramagnetic spin systems ranging from organic-free radicals to catalytic paramagnetic metal ion centers in metalloproteins. Typically, HF EPR experiments are carried out at resonant frequencies ν=95–300 GHz and this requires magnetic fields of 3.4–10.7 T for electronic spins with g≈2.0. Such fields could be easily achieved with superconducting magnets, but, unlike NMR, these magnets cannot operate in a persistent mode in order to satisfy a wide range of resonant fields required by the experiment. Operating and maintaining conventional passively cooled superconducting magnets in EPR laboratories require frequent transfer of cryogens by trained personnel. Here we describe and characterize a versatile cryogen-free magnet system for HF EPR at magnetic fields up to 12.1 T that is suitable for ramping the magnetic field over the entire range, precision scans around the target field, and/or holding the field at the target value. We also demonstrate that in a nonpersistent mode of operation the magnetic field can be stabilized to better than 0.3 ppm/h over 15 h period by employing a transducer-controlled power supply. Such stability is sufficient for many HF EPR experiments. An important feature of the system is that it is virtually maintenance-free because it is based on a cryogen-free technology and therefore does not require any liquid cryogens (liquid helium or nitrogen) for operation. We believe that actively cooled superconducting magnets are ideally suited for a wide range of HF EPR experiments including studies of spin-labeled nucleic acids and proteins, single-molecule- magnets, and metalloproteins.

Published in:

Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:77 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

Mar 2006

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