DFG priority program
Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is a spectroscopic technique that allows detection of paramagnetic centres and magnetic nuclei coupled to them on a time scale as short as nanoseconds and with spatial resolution from the atomic up to the nanometer scale. Recent progress in this technique has been mainly driven by specific needs in the research areas of biological and materials science. The priority program aims at bringing these research areas together in a coordinated effort in order to increase the sensitivity of EPR as an essential spectroscopic technique for biology, chemistry, materials science, and physics. As a major goal, new application fields shall be opened up by EPR such as the investigation of megadalton molecular machines, in cell protein-protein interactions or enzymatic mechanisms, catalytic processes on single-crystalline surfaces, or the light-induced degradation of thin-film solar cells. The intrinsic diversity of the studied systems implies that the envisaged sensitivity enhancement does not only rely on advances on the side of EPR hardware but also involves alternative polarisation and detection schemes and the adaptation of the method to “real world” samples. The program encompasses collaborative projects that focus on four major research areas. The first two comprehend methods to increase the sensitivity of EPR experiments: 1) methods for improved excitation and manipulation of electron spin magnetisation and 2) methods for improved EPR detection. The third and fourth areas explore the applicability of these methods in fields of biological and materials sciences, which are not amenable to EPR spectroscopy at the current state-of-the-art. The synergy between the methodological work, on the one side, and application-oriented research on the other side, will be progressively established.