Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectroscopy at EcoSynth

For a while now, EcoSynth is applying EPR spectroscopy in various research and development projects. The EPR technique, short for electron paramagnetic resonance but also referred to as electron spin resonance (ESR), is closely related to the more familiar nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy but detects electrons instead of nuclei. Application of the technique is diverse and spans multiple scientific disciplines, including biology and medicine (e.g., study of metabolic function), material science (e.g., semiconductor research, purity assessment, …), chemistry (e.g., photochemical mechanisms, monitoring transition metal catalysis, …), and quality control (e.g., shelf life predictions, forced ageing studies, …).

The EcoSynth laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art Bruker EMX nano spectrometer. Measuring conditions and atmosphere can be controlled by a variable gas and temperature controller and a powerful mercury vapour lamp makes irradiation inside of the instrument’s cavity possible. The technique is unique due to its sensitivity and selectivity, mainly because only unpaired spins are detected. Its proportionate response allows for quantitative analysis while non-destructive sampling is an advantage if recovery is desired.

Due to its versatility, interest in implementation of the technique in industrial context is increasing. Typical examples of projects carried out at EcoSynth include the mechanistic elaboration of photochemical reactions by intermediate radical identification, the monitoring of oxidative stability of flavour active compounds in beverages, and the investigation and optimization of an advanced radical initiator system for polymerization reactions.


Left: EPR spectrometer with temperature and gas controller. Right: A typical two-dimensional spectrum from a radical initiator.

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