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Miniature ESR spectrometer facilitates study of free radicals

By Scott Jenkins |

A miniaturized electron spin resonance (ESR) spectrometer developed by Active Spectrum Inc. (Foster City, Calif.; www.activespectrum.com) can facilitate studies of chemical species with unpaired electrons, such as organic free radicals and transition metal complexes. Available in both online and benchtop models, the Micro-ESR spectrometer greatly reduces the size, cost and complexity of ESR measurements, allowing the technique to be widely accessible to non-specialist users in chemical processing and industrial research. ESR spectroscopy is valuable for studying the composition and concentration of short-lived free radicals in oils, food products and biological materials. A key advantage of ESR over optical spectroscopy techniques is its ability to scan dirty, mixed or opaque samples without any sample preparation. It is also highly specific — most substrates have no unpaired electrons and therefore do not interfere with ESR. Traditional ESR equipment uses large and expensive 1970s-era microwave technology and magnets adapted from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The Micro-ESR sensor takes advantage of recent advances in wireless communications technology, and uses a samarium-cobalt permanent magnet to generate…
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