DAC-board based X-band EPR spectrometer with arbitrary waveform control

Thomas Kaufmann, Timothy J. Keller, John M. Franck, Ryan P. Barnes, Steffen J. Glaser, John M. Martinis, Songi Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We present arbitrary control over a homogenous spin system, demonstrated on a simple, home-built, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer operating at 8-10 GHz (X-band) and controlled by a 1 GHz arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) with 42 dB (i.e. 14-bit) of dynamic range. Such a spectrometer can be relatively easily built from a single DAC (digital to analog converter) board with a modest number of stock components and offers powerful capabilities for automated digital calibration and correction routines that allow it to generate shaped X-band pulses with precise amplitude and phase control. It can precisely tailor the excitation profiles "seen" by the spins in the microwave resonator, based on feedback calibration with experimental input. We demonstrate the capability to generate a variety of pulse shapes, including rectangular, triangular, Gaussian, sinc, and adiabatic rapid passage waveforms. We then show how one can precisely compensate for the distortion and broadening caused by transmission into the microwave cavity in order to optimize corrected waveforms that are distinctly different from the initial, uncorrected waveforms. Specifically, we exploit a narrow EPR signal whose width is finer than the features of any distortions in order to map out the response to a short pulse, which, in turn, yields the precise transfer function of the spectrometer system. This transfer function is found to be consistent for all pulse shapes in the linear response regime. In addition to allowing precise waveform shaping capabilities, the spectrometer presented here offers complete digital control and calibration of the spectrometer that allows one to phase cycle the pulse phase with 0.007 resolution and to specify the inter-pulse delays and pulse durations to ≤250 ps resolution. The implications and potential applications of these capabilities will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbitrary waveform generation
  • EPR
  • Excitation profile
  • Pulse electron paramagnetic resonance
  • Transfer function
  • X-band

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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