Webinar Overview: EPR as a Teaching Tool in the Laboratory

Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy is a technique that often goes unnoticed compared to many other spectroscopy techniques. However, it can be a powerful method, both for academic research and as a teaching tool in undergraduate laboratory classes. There is also a misunderstanding in the scientific world about EPR spectroscopy, especially regarding it so-called large size; when in fact there are many compact instruments out there with a much lower footprint than other spectroscopy techniques.

In this webinar, Field Application Specialist, Brendan Lichtenthal, and Application Chemist, Dr Christine Hofstetter, for Bruker Biospin discuss how EPR spectroscopy can be a useful teaching tool in undergraduate laboratories and can be used to introduce magnetic resonance techniques and principles, in addition to showcasing how Bruker Biospin’s compact microESR EPR spectrometer is instrument of choice.

The webinar starts off by introducing the educational package available with the MicroESR, which is a specific package designed for use in teaching undergraduates. This is followed up by the main benefits of the EPR system and a brief introduction into EPR and free radical theory, including examples of free radicals in everyday life.

Once the initial introductions are over, the webinar showcases a list of the different applications where EPR can be utilized. This section includes applications that cover various branches of chemistry, material science, semiconductors, biology and medicine, and showcases the versatility of the technique and how it has potential to be used as a teaching tool across many different areas of science.

Mr Brandon Lichtenthal then proceeds to detail the non-existence of EPR in many undergraduate curriculums. Whilst it is discussed that EPR is complex technique to teach and understand, it is a method than can provide students with a range of new scientific solutions that they can use throughout their scientific career, as well as offering them an interesting learning experience. Dr Hofstetter also provides insights into how the educational package has been designed to help minimize the complexity of EPR by providing a set of simple experiments and modern (and simpler) spectra to interpret.

Once the contents of the package have been showcased, the webinar then moves on to the capabilities of the microESR and the experiments that can be undertaken by students when using the educational package.

Dr Hofstetter switches the focus of the webinar to discuss the different spectral aspects of EPR spectroscopy and looks at the spectrometer parameters (all of which can be changed by the students to fit their teachings), the g-factor values, hyperfine splitting, line intensities within a multiplet, electron density, lineshape of EPR spectra, spin labelling, reaction rates and kinetic data (including examples) and how to monitor radical reactions.

Once the technical part of the webinar is finished, the main body of the webinar wraps up by showing how EPR can be used to provide quantitative measurements and how the results obtained with an EPR instrument can be compared against other analytical methods found in many teaching laboratories. The speakers then explain what relevant consumable materials are available through Bruker Biospin before opening the webinar up to questions from the viewers.

On the whole, the webinar as been designed to specifically focus on using the microESR as a teaching tool, because Bruker Biospin will be providing another webinar in September which looks to explain more about the technical side of the MicroESR and a deeper explanation of EPR theory.

To learn more about Bruker Biospin’s microESR instrument in more detail, and to see how using EPR spectroscopy could be of great benefit to your undergraduate students, please click here to register and listen to the webinar.

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