Research

EMR is particularly suited to detect and microscopically identify atomic or molecular systems with unpaired electrons.

The EMR group is part of the Department of Solid State Sciences of Ghent University and is mainly involved in the study of defects in solids, that are paramagnetic (have unpaired electrons) or that can be made paramagnetic by, e.g., exposure to

  • ionizing radiation
  • thermal treatment, etc.

The application field of EPR and related techniques is therefore very wide and extends far beyond (solid state) physics and includes for instance also liquids and gases. We invite you to have a look on this website at the numerous illustrations of the EMR potential. It will become clear that not only detailed, structural information can be obtained but that also quantitative determinations / applications in dosimetry and dating are possible.

About EMR

EMR is the electronic counterpart of NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). EMR includes in the first place the basic technique, i.e., EPR (Electron Paramagnetic Resonance), also known as ESR (Electron Spin Resonance) but also derived techniques as ENDOR (Electron Nuclear DOuble Resonance) and EIE (ENDOR induced EPR). For instance with ENDOR, NMR transitions can be observed via the EPR signal, with an inherently better sensitivity than with NMR itself.

On the one hand, EMR allows a high level detailed characterization of paramagnetic centers particularly

  • symmetry
  • electron spin
  • valence state
  • chemical identity
  • electronic and geometrical structure of direct environment, etc.

On the other hand, by its high sensitivity (about 1010 paramagnetic centers in absolute terms), reproducibility and non-destructive character, EPR has also important applications in the field of

  • radiation dosimetry
  • dating
  • detection of irradiation in foodstuffs.

Comparable to NMR, EMR makes use of an (electronic) magnetic moment that interacts with external or internal magnetic fields, e.g., due to neighboring nuclear spins. EMR transitions are of the magnetic dipole type and occur between electronic levels split by Zeeman or hyperfine interactions. They are induced by microwave radiation (mm/cm region). The area of application is very broad and includes among others

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • physics
  • geology
  • medecine
  • pharmacy
  • material science
  • agriculture.

Although within the UGent Department of Solid State Sciences, the research on defects and radicals in solids prevails, the sample can also be liquids or even gases (typical dimension of a few mm3).

At the moment the EMR group disposes of EPR, ENDOR and EI-EPR in X and Q-band (microwaves with frequencies around 9.5 GHz and 34 GHz respectively), supplemented with extensive peripheral equipment, e.g., for cryogenics and in situ irradiation (optical and UV region).

Research topics

The research of the EMR group is at present mainly directed towards radiation damage in DNA and bio-organic model systems (sugars, amino acids, etc.), and towards catalytically relevant defects in MOFs (Metal Organic Frameworks) (see running project of the group). Via projects in the (recent) past, the group has acquired important expertise in the field of

  • defects and radicals in apatites
  • transition metal
  • lanthanide activated optical materials (phosphors)
  • semiconductors (in close collaboration with the DISC research group).

Running projects of the EMR group

We wish you a pleasant stay on our site and hope to meet you soon in our laboratories.