Biradical rotamer states tune electron J coupling and MAS dynamic nuclear polarization enhancement

Kan Tagami, Asif Equbal, Ilia Kaminker, Bernard Kirtman, Songi Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cross Effect (CE)Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP)relies on the dipolar (D)and exchange (J)coupling interaction between two electron spins. Until recently only the electron spin D coupling was explicitly included in quantifying the DNP mechanism. Recent literature discusses the potential role of J coupling in DNP, but does not provide an account of the distribution and source of electron spin J coupling of commonly used biradicals in DNP. In this study, we quantified the distribution of electron spin J coupling in AMUPol and TOTAPol biradicals using a combination of continuous wave (CW)X-band electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)lineshape analysis in a series of solvents and at variable temperatures in solution – a state to be vitrified for DNP. We found that both radicals show a temperature dependent distribution of J couplings, and the source of this distribution to be conformational dynamics. To qualify this conformational dependence of J coupling in both molecules we carry out Broken Symmetry DFT calculations which show that the biradical rotamer distribution can account for a large distribution of J couplings, with the magnitude of J coupling directly depending on the relative orientation of the electron spin pair. We demonstrate that the electron spin J couplings in both AMUPol and TOTAPol span a much wider distribution than suggested in the literature. We affirm the importance of electron spin J coupling for DNP with density matrix simulations of DNP in Liouville space and under magic angle spinning, showcasing that a rotamer with high J coupling and optimum relative g-tensor orientation can significantly boost the DNP performance compared to random orientations of the electron spin pair. We conclude that moderate electron spin J coupling above a threshold value can facilitate DNP enhancements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalSolid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • AMUPol
  • Cross effect
  • DNP
  • MAS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • General Chemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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