ESR Facility - Department of Chemistry

The ESR facilities housed in the Inorganic Chemistry building at Oxford provides research opportunities for Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Pathology, Chemical Biology, Physics, and Quantum computing as described below.

Time on the machines will be allocated using the following criteria
(i)     the potential of the research to produce high-impact scientific results and publications
(ii)    the degree of innovation in the application of ESR to new research directions
(iii)   the effectiveness in attracting new faculty and young researchers into the CAESR community
(iv)   current funding or the potential for future funding

Finally, please note following point (iv) that we record usage, and based on the recorded usage, the Chemistry Financial division will make recommendations about how much science research facility (SRF) money should be allocated in your future grants.  External users may be asked to have funding available for point-of-access charges.  Contact the Dr. Will Myers to find-out about rates, and we will assist you in developing a CAESR component in your grants to accurately estimate the amount of SRF allocation.  Once you have a good estimate of the expected usage requirements from consultation with the Scientific Applications Manager, then Principle Investigators or your departmental Research Coordinator may obtain costing estimates directly from the X5 system.   The experience of several senior and mid-career academics is that grants submitted to EPSRC and BBSRC are not rejected based on having too much in SRF allocation requests. 

Use of the ESR facilities 

The research facilities make use of an X-band (~10 GHz) CW EPR spectrometer and a CW/pulse X/W band (~10 GHz/~94 GHz) EPR spectrometer. There is a dedicated ESR Chemistry Laboratory for preparing EPR samples (e.g. preparing oxygen sensitive samples, etc.).

The usual procedure for using the facilities is as follows:

  1. For each type of sample the you want to measure make sure that you have a General Chemical COSHH Form on file in the blue binder next to each EPR instrument that intend to you use.
    Initial spectra for characterisation purposes should be collected on the X-band continuous wave (CW) EPR spectrometer (Bruker EMX). A training session is provided by the EPR staff to demonstrate its operation (contact Dr Will Myers for this training). You should first collect a basic X-band CW EPR spectrum of your sample, at the desired temperature(s), to check its structure and the sample integrity and quality (see guidance on Sample Preparation). 
  2. You may then carry out further high-resolution experiments on the X-/W-band pulsed/CW instruments (E680) to characterise the sample, provided the sample is of sufficient quality. High-resolution experiments include DEER, ESEEM techniques, ENDOR, 2D-field sweeps, etc. 
    Both instruments have an associated booking scheme. The X-band CW EPR spectrometer (EMX) is available for use at short notice most times, providing a rapid way to characterise samples. The X-/W-band pulsed/CW spectrometer (E680) has more restricted access since the timetable is planned monthly (but consult the timetable to see if free time exists). A request to book instrument time outside of the monthly timetable meeting is made by sending an email to Dr Will Myers with a complete sample submission form (among other things you need to label your sample, and this label name must also be on your EPR tube, state if you need cryogens, i.e. liquid helium or nitrogen, and the resonator).
    The Measurement Timetables for both instruments can be viewed online (but you can not directly book time yourself, you must email your request).
  3. Data from the spectrometers should be downloaded for local storage. We take all care but no responsibility for your data. 

If you wish to be trained to use the E680 spectrometer (pulse instrument) and thus be able to execute pulse EPR experiments yourself, you should first discuss these requirements with your group supervisor. If they agree you should be trained, please email Dr Will Myers to explain your needs and make arrangements for training. You will be asked to undergo training even if you have hands-on experience from elsewhere, but this will be tailored accordingly.