Molecular dynamics in liquids: spin-lattice relaxation of nitroxide spin labels

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Science  28 Jan 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5146, pp. 490-493
DOI: 10.1126/science.8290958


Time domain pulsed saturation recovery and electron-electron double resonance spectroscopies were used to measure the spin-lattice relaxation rates of the electron and the nitrogen nucleus in nitroxide spin labels in liquids. The rotational correlation time range covered is from picoseconds to milliseconds. These rates are quantitatively explained by isotropic rotational Brownian dynamics, which modulate the interactions between the electron spin and the molecular angular momentum; the nitrogen and electron spins; and the solvent protons with both the electron and the nitrogen spins. This solves a 20-year-old problem that has limited scientific applications of nitroxides.