A low-spin CoII/Nitroxide complex for distance measurements at Q-band frequencies

Angeliki Giannoulis*, David Bradford Cordes, Alexandra Martha Zoya Slawin, Bela Ernest Bode*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Pulse dipolar electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (PDS) is continuously furthering the understanding of chemical and biological assemblies through distance measurements in the nanometer range. New paramagnets and pulse sequences can provide structural insights not accessible through other techniques. In the pursuit of alternative spin centers for PDS, we synthesized a low-spin CoII complex bearing a nitroxide (NO) moiety, where both the CoII and NO have an electron spin S of 1/2. We measured CoII-NO distances with the well-established double electron–electron resonance (DEER aka PELDOR) experiment, as well as with the five- and six-pulse relaxation-induced dipolar modulation enhancement (RIDME) spectroscopies at Q-band frequencies (34 GHz). We first identified challenges related to the stability of the complex in solution via DEER and X-ray crystallography and showed that even in cases where complex disproportionation is unavoidable, CoII-NO PDS measurements are feasible and give good signal-to-noise (SNR) ratios. Specifically, DEER and five-pulse RIDME exhibited an SNR of ~100, and while the six-pulse RIDME exhibited compromised SNR, it helped us minimize unwanted signals from the RIDME traces. Last, we demonstrated RIDME at a 10 μM sample concentration. Our results demonstrate paramagnetic CoII to be a feasible spin center in medium magnetic fields with opportunities for PDS studies involving CoII ions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022


  • DEER
  • Pulse dipolar spectroscopy (PDS)
  • CoII
  • Nitroxide
  • Distance measurements


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