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Nonresonant Transmission Line Probe for Sensitive Interferometric Electron Spin Resonance Detection

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journal contribution
posted on 19.08.2019 by Pragya R. Shrestha, Nandita Abhyankar, Mark A. Anders, Kin P. Cheung, Robert Gougelet, Jason T. Ryan, Veronika Szalai, Jason P. Campbell
Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy measures paramagnetic free radicals, or electron spins, in a variety of biological, chemical, and physical systems. Detection of diverse paramagnetic species is important in applications ranging from quantum computation to biomedical research. Countless efforts have been made to improve the sensitivity of ESR detection. However, the improvement comes at the cost of experimental accessibility. Thus, most ESR spectrometers are limited to specific sample geometries and compositions. Here, we present a nonresonant transmission line ESR probe (microstrip geometry) that effectively couples high frequency microwave magnetic field into a wide range of sample geometries and compositions. The nonresonant transmission line probe maintains detection sensitivity while increasing availability to a wider range of applications. The high frequency magnetic field homogeneity is greatly increased by positioning the sample between the microstrip signal line and the ground plane. Sample interfacing occurs via a universal sample holder which is compatible with both solid and liquid samples. The unavoidable loss in sensitivity due to the nonresonant nature of the transmission line probe (low Q) is recuperated by using a highly sensitive microwave interferometer-based detection circuit. The combination of our sensitive interferometer and nonresonant transmission line provides similar sensitivity to a commercially available ESR spectrometer equipped with a high-Q resonator. The nonresonant probe allows for transmission, reflection, or dual-mode detection (transmission and reflection), where the dual-mode results in a √2 signal enhancement.