Spin Relaxation Measurements Using First-Harmonic Out-of-Phase Absorption EPR Signals

V. A. Livshits, T. Páli, D. Marsh

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The dependence on spin-lattice (T1) relaxation of the first-harmonic absorption EPR signal (V′1) detected in phase quadrature with the Zeeman modulation has been investigated both theoretically and experimentally for nitroxide spin labels. Spectral simulations were performed by iterative solution of the Bloch equations that contained explicitly both the modulation and microwave magnetic fields (T. Páli, V. A. Livshits, and D. Marsh, 1996, J. Magn. Reson. B 113, 151-159). It was found that, of the various non-linear EPR displays, the first-harmonic out-of-phase V′1-signal, recorded under conditions of partial saturation of the microwave absorption, is particularly favorable for determining spin-lattice relaxation enhancements because of its superior signal intensity and relative insensitivity to spin-spin (T2) relaxation. By varying the Zeeman modulation frequency it is also possible to tune the optimum sensitivity of the V′1-signal to different ranges of the T1-relaxation time. A Zeeman modulation frequency of 25 kHz appears to be particularly suited to spin label applications. Calibrations are given for the dependence on Y1-relaxation time of both the amplitude and the second integral of the V′1-signal recorded under standard conditions. Experiments on different spin labels in solution and in membranes demonstrate the practical usable sensitivity of the V′1-signal, even at modulation frequencies of 25 kHz, and these are used to investigate the dependence on microwave field intensity, in comparison with theoretical predictions. The practicable sensitivity to spin-lattice relaxation enhancements is demonstrated experimentally for a spin-labeled membrane system in the presence of paramagnetic ions. The first-harmonic out-of-phase V′1-signal appears to be the non-linear CW EPR method of choice for determining T1-relaxation enhancements in spin-labeled systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998



  • Non-linear EPR
  • Out-of-phase EPR
  • Spin labels
  • Spin-lattice relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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