Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation

Dynamic nuclear polarisation is a technique that can be used to hugely increase the sensitivity of NMR experiments. The main premise is that during an NMR experiment, if there are unpaired electron spins present and they are illuminated at their resonant frequency (determined by the field at which the NMR is carried out) then the magnetic polarisation can be transferred from the electrons to the nuclei. Because of the much larger magnetic moment of the electron compared to the nucleus, this can improve the signal to noise by orders of magnitude, which will drastically lower the experiment time.

NMR is generally carried out at very high fields so DNP requires knowledge of high-field EPR techniques and high-frequency (and often high power) microwave techniques. We are part of several collaborations on DNP and expect it to become a major thread of our research activity in the near future.