We intend to develop a new nano-characterization technique able to complement the tools currently available (AFM, TEM, XPS etc.) and to palliate the inadequacies and/or sensitivity limitations of atomic resolution techniques such as X-ray diffraction and solution NMR. Indeed, despite their success to resolve structures, they do not contribute as much to the tremendous ongoing advances in nanoscience: i.e. development of molecular memories, molecular electronics, nano-biosensors, etc. The reason relies mainly in the intrinsic nature of the samples involved (either non-crystalline or insoluble materials) and the subsequent poor detection sensitivity associated. The objective of the project is to develop a particular form of solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance able to enhance the nuclear spin sensitivity by 4 to 6 orders of magnitude. To achieve this objective, we will use a high power microwave source to irradiate the unpaired electron spins (contained in optimized polarizing agents) in order to hyperpolarize surrounding nuclear spins through a mechanism called Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP). The experiments will be conducted at high magnetic field, with a temperature ranging from 10 to 300 K and rotation of the sample at the magic angle in order to retain high resolution NMR conditions. The project also intends to demonstrate the pertinence of the approach for atomic structure determination of challenging nano-systems beyond reach by other techniques, e.g. functionalized nanotubes/molecular wires, paramagnetic systems (porphyrins, proteins, etc.) as well as very large non-crystalline and insoluble biomolecular systems.
Call for proposal
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