Electron spin relaxation governed by Raman processes both for Cu²⁺ ions and carbonate radicals in KHCO₃ crystals: EPR and electron spin echo studies

Hoffmann, S.K.; Goslar, J.; Lijewski, S.

Journal of Magnetic Resonance 221: 120-128


ISSN/ISBN: 1090-7807
PMID: 22750640
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmr.2012.06.001
Accession: 052926085

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EPR studies of Cu²⁺ and two free radicals formed by γ-radiation were performed for KHCO₃ single crystal at room temperature. From the rotational EPR results we concluded that Cu²⁺ is chelated by two carbonate molecules in a square planar configuration with spin-Hamiltonian parameters g(||)=2.2349 and A(||)=18.2 mT. Free radicals were identified as neutral HOCO· with unpaired electron localized on the carbon atom and a radical anion CO₃·⁻ with unpaired electron localized on two oxygen atoms. The hyperfine splitting of the EPR lines by an interaction with a single hydrogen atom of HOCO· was observed with isotropic coupling constants a₀=0.31 mT. Two differently oriented radical sites were identified in the crystal unit cell. Electron spin-lattice relaxation measured by electron spin echo methods shows that both Cu²⁺ and free radicals relax via two-phonon Raman processes with almost the same relaxation rate. The temperature dependence of the relaxation rate 1/T₁ is well described with the effective Debye temperature Θ(D)=175 K obtained from a fit to the Debye-type phonon spectrum. We calculated a more realistic Debye temperature value from available elastic constant values of the crystal as Θ(D)=246 K. This Θ(D)-value and the Debye phonon spectrum approximation give a much worse fit to the experimental results. Possible contributions from a local mode or an optical mode are considered and it is suggested that the real phonon spectrum should be used for the relaxation data interpretation. It is unusual that free radicals in KHCO₃ relax similarly to the well localized Cu²⁺ ions, which suggests a small destruction of the host crystal lattice by the ionizing irradiation allowing well coupling between radical and lattice dynamics.