In dynamic nuclear polarization nuclear magnetic resonance (DNP-NMR) experiments, the large Boltzmann polarization of unpaired electrons is transferred to surrounding nuclei, leading to a significant increase in the sensitivity of the NMR signal. In order to obtain large polarization gains in the bulk of inorganic samples, paramagnetic metal ions are introduced as minor dopants acting as polarizing agents. While this approach has been shown to be very efficient in crystalline inorganic oxides, significantly lower enhancements have been reported when applying this approach to oxide glasses. In order to rationalize the origin of the difference in the efficiency of DNP in amorphous and crystalline inorganic matrices, we performed a detailed comparison in terms of their magnetic resonance properties. To diminish differences in the DNP performance arising from distinct nuclear interactions, glass and crystal systems of similar compositions were chosen, Li2OCaO·2SiO2 and Li2CaSiO4, respectively. Using Gd(III) as polarizing agent, DNP provided signal enhancements in the range of 100 for the crystalline sample, while only up to around factor 5 in the glass, for both 6Li and 29Si nuclei. We find that the drop in enhancement in glasses can be attributed to three main factors: shorter nuclear and electron relaxation times as well as the dielectric properties of glass and crystal. The amorphous nature of the glass sample is responsible for a high dielectric loss, leading to efficient microwave absorption and consequently lower effective microwave power and an increase in sample temperature which leads to further reduction of the electron relaxation time. These results help rationalize the observed sensitivity enhancements and provide guidance in identifying materials that could benefit from the DNP approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films