Surface-Only Spectroscopy for Diffusion-Limited Systems Using Ultra-Low Temperature DNP MAS NMR at 16.4 T

Conventional dynamic-nuclear-polarization (DNP) technique at T ~100 K can enhance sensitivity of magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR over 100-fold for standard samples containing urea/proline at high-field conditions, B0= 9.4–16.4 T. In the scene of real applications, however, the achievable enhancement is often much lower than for urea/proline due to faster 1H relaxation (T1H) promoted by molecular-segmental fluctuations and methyl-group rotations active even at low temperatures, hindering an efficient polarization diffusion within the system. Here, we show at 16.4 T that ultra-low temperature (T≪100 K) provides a general way to improve the DNP efficiency for such diffusion-limited systems as we demonstrate on microcrystalline sample of a tripeptide N-f-MLF-OH. In a further step, the hyperpolarization localized at the crystal surface enabled “surface-only” spectroscopy eliminating background signals from the crystal core. The surface-only data, rather than the currently popular surface-enhanced data, should prove to be useful in many applications in biological and material sciences.