The effect of the zero-field splitting in light-induced pulsed dipolar electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy
2023-02-08, Scherer, Andreas, Yildirim, Berk, Drescher, Malte
Laser-induced magnetic dipole (LaserIMD) spectroscopy and light-induced double electron–electron resonance (LiDEER) spectroscopy are important techniques in the emerging field of light-induced pulsed dipolar electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy (light-induced PDS). These techniques use the photoexcitation of a chromophore to the triplet state and measure its dipolar coupling to a neighboring electron spin, which allows the determination of distance restraints. To date, LaserIMD and LiDEER have been analyzed with software tools that were developed for a pair of two S=1/2 spins and that neglected the zero-field splitting (ZFS) of the excited triplet. Here, we explore the limits of this assumption and show that the ZFS can have a significant effect on the shape of the dipolar trace. For a detailed understanding of the effect of the ZFS, a theoretical description for LaserIMD and LiDEER is derived, taking into account the non-secular terms of the ZFS. Simulations based on this model show that the effect of the ZFS is not that pronounced in LiDEER for experimentally relevant conditions. However, the ZFS leads to an additional decay in the dipolar trace in LaserIMD. This decay is not that pronounced in Q-band but can be quite noticeable for lower magnetic field strengths in X-band. Experimentally recorded LiDEER and LaserIMD data confirm these findings. It is shown that ignoring the ZFS in the data analysis of LaserIMD traces can lead to errors in the obtained modulation depths and background decays. In X-band, it is additionally possible that the obtained distance distribution is plagued by long distance artifacts.