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Multi-step phase-cycling in a free-electron laser-powered pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer

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Abstract

Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is a powerful tool for research in chemistry, biology, physics and materials science, which can benefit significantly from moving to frequencies above 100 GHz. In pulsed EPR spectrometers driven by powerful sub-THz oscillators, such as the free electron laser (FEL)-powered EPR spectrometer at UCSB, control of the duration, power and relative phases of the pulses in a sequence must be performed at the frequency and power level of the oscillator. Here we report on the implementation of an all-quasioptical four-step phase cycling procedure carried out directly at the kW power level of the 240 GHz pulses used in the FEL-powered EPR spectrometer. Phase shifts are introduced by modifying the optical path length of a 240 GHz pulse with precision-machined dielectric plates in a procedure we call phase cycling with optomechanical phase shifters (POPS), while numerical receiver phase cycling is implemented in post-processing. The POPS scheme was successfully used to reduce experimental dead times, enabling pulsed EPR of fast-relaxing spin systems such as gadolinium complexes at temperatures above 190 K. Coherence transfer pathway selection with POPS was used to perform spin echo relaxation experiments to measure the phase memory time of P1 centers in diamond in the presence of a strong unwanted FID signal in the background. The large excitation bandwidth of FEL-EPR, together with phase cycling, enabled the quantitative measurement of instantaneous electron spectral diffusion, from which the P1 center concentration was estimated to within 10%. Finally, phase cycling enabled saturation-recovery measurements of T1 in a trityl-water solution at room temperature – the first FEL-EPR measurement of electron T1.

Graphical abstract: Multi-step phase-cycling in a free-electron laser-powered pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Mar 2018, accepted on 06 Jun 2018 and first published on 07 Jun 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01876F
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Advance Article
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    Multi-step phase-cycling in a free-electron laser-powered pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer

    C. B. Wilson, S. Aronson, J. A. Clayton, S. J. Glaser, S. Han and M. S. Sherwin, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01876F

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