Decoupling of excitation and receive coils in pulsed magnetic resonance using sinusoidal magnetic field modulation

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In pulsed magnetic resonance, the excitation power is many orders of magnitude larger than that induced by the spin system in the receiving coil or resonator. The receiver must be protected during and immediately after the excitation pulse to allow for the energy stored in the resonator to dissipate to a safe level. The time during which the signal is not detected, the instrumental dead-time, can be shortened by using magnetically decoupled excitation and receive coils. Such coils are oriented, with respect to each other, in a way that minimizes the total magnetic flux produced by one coil in the other. We suggest that magnetically decoupled coils can be isolated to a larger degree by tuning them to separate frequencies. Spins are excited at one frequency, and the echo signal is detected at another. Sinusoidal magnetic field modulation that rapidly changes the Larmor frequency of the spins between the excitation and detection events is used to ensure the resonance conditions for both coils. In this study, the relaxation times of trityl-CD3 were measured in a field-modulated pulsed EPR experiment and compared to results obtained using a standard spin echo method. The excitation and receive coils were tuned to 245 and 256.7 MHz, respectively. Using an available rapid-scan, cross-loop EPR resonator, we demonstrated an isolation improvement of approximately 20–30 dB due to frequency decoupling. Theoretical analysis, numerical simulations, and proof-of-concept experiments demonstrated that substantial excitation-detection decoupling can be achieved. A pulsed L-band system, including a small volume bi-modal resonator equipped with modulation coils, was constructed to demonstrate fivefold dead-time reduction in comparison with the standard EPR experiment. This was achieved by detuning of the excitation and receive coils by 26 MHz and using sinusoidal modulation at 480 kHz.