Rapid and Precise Determination of Absolute Zero-Field Splittings by Terahertz Time-Domain Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Zero field splitting (ZFS) parameters are fundamentally tied to the geometries of metal ion complexes. Despite their critical importance for understanding the magnetism and spectroscopy of metal complexes, they are not routinely available through common techniques, and are often inferred from magnetism data or from high-field electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) experiments. Here we demonstrate a simple tabletop experimental setup that enables direct and reliable determination of ZFS parameters at variable temperature. We report time-domain measurements of EPR associated with terahertz-frequency ZFS in molecular complexes of high-spin transition metal ions. We measure the temporal electric field profiles of the free-induction decays of spin resonances in the complexes in the absence of external magnetic fields, and we derive the EPR spectra via numerical Fourier transformation of the time-domain signals. The ZFS parameters are extracted from the measured spin resonance frequencies, and show good agreement with values obtained by other methods. The simplicity of the method portends wide applicability in chemistry, biology and material science.