Theory of solid effect and cross effect dynamic nuclear polarization with half-integer high-spin metal polarizing agents in rotating solids
Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) is a powerful method to enhance sensitivity especially of solid-state magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR by up to several orders of magnitude. The increased interest both from a practical as well as theoretical viewpoint has spawned several fields of active research such as the development of new polarizing agents with improved or unique properties and description of the underlying DNP mechanisms such as solid effect (SE) and cross effect (CE). Even though a novel class of unique polarizing agents based on high-spin metal ions such as Gd(III) and Mn(II) has already been utilized for MAS DNP a theoretical description of the involved DNP mechanism is still incomplete. Here, we review several aspects of DNP-relevant electron-paramagnetic resonance (EPR) properties of the general class of these half-integer high-spin metal ions with isotropic Zeeman interaction but significant zero-field splitting (ZFS). While the SE can be relatively easily described similar to that of a S = 1/2 system and is assumed to be effective only for polarizing agents featuring a narrow central EPR transitions (i.e., mS = −1/2 → +1/2) with respect to the nuclear Larmor frequency, the CE between two high-spin ions requires a more detailed theoretical investigation due to a multitude of possible transitions and matching conditions. This is especially interesting in light of recent understanding of CE being induced by MAS-driven level anti-crossings (LACs) between dipolar-coupled electron spins. We discuss the requirements of such CE-enabling LACs to occur due to anisotropy of ZFS, the expected adiabaticity, and the resulting possibilities of high-spin metal ion pairs to act as polarizing agents for DNP. This theoretical description serves as a framework for a detailed experimental study published directly following this work.