EPR Know-How

Using EPR as A Teaching Tool in the Laboratory

In terms of analytical and spectroscopy techniques, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy often flies under the radar in lieu of conventional spectroscopy techniques. However, it can be a powerful instrument, both for academic research and as a teaching tool in undergraduate laboratories. There are also many misconceptions in the scientific world about EPR spectroscopy, especially regarding it size, but there are many compact instruments out there that have a much lower footprint than other spectroscopy techniques.

In this webinar, Field Application Specialist, Brendan Lichtenthal, and Application Chemist, Dr Christine Hofstetter, for Bruker Biospin discuss how EPR spectroscopy can be a useful teaching method in laboratories for introducing magnetic resonance techniques and principles, as well as showcasing how Bruker Biospin’s compact microESR EPR spectrometer is an ideal instrument of choice.

The webinar starts off by introducing the education package available with the microESR, which is a specific package designed with undergraduate teaching in mind. This is followed up with the key benefits of the EPR system and a brief introduction into basic EPR and free radical theory, including how and where free radicals are present in everyday life.

Once the initial introductions are over, the webinar moves into a non-exhaustive list of the different applications where EPR is, and can be, used. This section includes applications that cover various branches of chemistry, material science, semiconductors, biology and medicine, thus showcasing the versatility of the technique and the potential for it to be used as a teaching tool across different areas of science.

Mr Lichtenthal then proceeds to discuss the lack of EPR in many undergraduate curriculums. Whilst it is discussed that EPR is much more difficult technique to teach, it is a method than can offer students an arsenal of scientific solutions that they can use throughout their scientific career, as well as offering them an interactive learning experience. Dr Hofstetter also offers insights into how the educational package is designed to help minimize the complexity of EPR by providing a set of easy to follow experiments and simpler modern spectra to interpret.

Once the contents of the package have been shown, the webinar then focuses on the capabilities of the microESR and the experiments that can be undertaken by students when using the education package.

Dr Hofstetter switches the focus of the webinar to discuss the spectral side of EPR spectroscopy and looks at the spectrometer parameters (all of which can be deduced by students to fit their teachings), the g-factor values, hyperfine splitting, line intensities within a multiplet, electron density, lineshape of EPR spectra, spin labelling, reaction rates and kinetic data (including examples) and how to monitor radical reactions.

Once the more technical aspects of the webinar have been concluded, the main body of the webinar wraps up by detailing how EPR can be used to provide quantitative measurements and how the results obtained with an EPR instrument can be used in conjunction with (and compared with) other analytical methods often found in the laboratory. The speakers then detail what relevant consumable materials are available through Bruker Biospin before opening the webinar up to a Q&A round.

To learn more about Bruker Biospin’s microESR instrument in more detail, and to see how using EPR spectroscopy could benefit your research and undergraduate teaching capabilities, please click here to register and listen to the webinar.