Research ArticleAPPLIED PHYSICS

Magic angle spinning spheres

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Science Advances  21 Sep 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 9, eaau1540
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau1540

Abstract

Magic angle spinning (MAS) is commonly used in nuclear magnetic resonance of solids to improve spectral resolution. Rather than using cylindrical rotors for MAS, we demonstrate that spherical rotors can be spun stably at the magic angle. Spherical rotors conserve valuable space in the probe head and simplify sample exchange and microwave coupling for dynamic nuclear polarization. In this current implementation of spherical rotors, a single gas stream provides bearing gas to reduce friction, drive propulsion to generate and maintain angular momentum, and variable temperature control for thermostating. Grooves are machined directly into zirconia spheres, thereby converting the rotor body into a robust turbine with high torque. We demonstrate that 9.5–mm–outside diameter spherical rotors can be spun at frequencies up to 4.6 kHz with N2(g) and 10.6 kHz with He(g). Angular stability of the spinning axis is demonstrated by observation of 79Br rotational echoes out to 10 ms from KBr packed within spherical rotors. Spinning frequency stability of ±1 Hz is achieved with resistive heating feedback control. A sample size of 36 μl can be accommodated in 9.5-mm-diameter spheres with a cylindrical hole machined along the spinning axis. We further show that spheres can be more extensively hollowed out to accommodate 161 μl of the sample, which provides superior signal-to-noise ratio compared to traditional 3.2-mm-diameter cylindrical rotors.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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