We present a pulsed dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) study using a ramped-amplitude nuclear orientation via electron spin locking (RA-NOVEL) sequence that utilizes a fast arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) to modulate the microwave pulses together with samples doped with narrow-line radicals such as 1,3-bisdiphenylene-2-phenylallyl (BDPA), sulfonated-BDPA (SA-BDPA), and trityl-OX063. Similar to ramped-amplitude cross polarization in solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, RA-NOVEL improves the DNP efficiency by a factor of up to 1.6 compared to constant-amplitude NOVEL (CA-NOVEL) but requires a longer mixing time. For example, at τmix = 8 μs, the DNP efficiency reaches a plateau at a ramp amplitude of ∼20 MHz for both SA-BDPA and trityl-OX063, regardless of the ramp profile (linear vs. tangent). At shorter mixing times (τmix = 0.8 μs), we found that the tangent ramp is superior to its linear counterpart and in both cases there exists an optimum ramp size and therefore ramp rate. Our results suggest that RA-NOVEL should be used instead of CA-NOVEL as long as the electronic spin lattice relaxation T1e is sufficiently long and/or the duty cycle of the microwave amplifier is not exceeded. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of a time domain DNP experiment that utilizes modulated microwave pulses. Our results also suggest that a precise modulation of the microwave pulses can play an important role in optimizing the efficiency of pulsed DNP experiments and an AWG is an elegant instrumental solution for this purpose.

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