Singularities in the lineshape of a second-order perturbed quadrupolar nucleus and their use in data fitting
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Even for large quadrupolar interactions, the powder spectrum of the central transition for a half-integral spin is relatively narrow, because it is unperturbed to first order. However, the second-order perturbation is still orientation dependent, so it generates a characteristic lineshape. This lineshape has both finite step discontinuities and singularities where the spectrum is infinite, in theory. The relative positions of these features are well-known and they play an important role in fitting experimental data. However, there has been relatively little discussion of how high the steps are, so we present explicit formulae for these heights. This gives a full characterization of the features in this lineshape which can lead to an analysis of the spectrum without the usual laborious powder average. The transition frequency, as a function of the orientation angles, shows critical points: maxima, minima and saddle points. The maxima and minima correspond to the step discontinuities and the saddle points generate the singularities. Near a maximum, the contours are ellipses, whose dimensions are determined by the second derivatives of the frequency with respect to the polar and azimuthal angles. The density of points is smooth as the contour levels move up and down, but then drops to zero when a maximum is passed, giving a step. The height of the step is determined by the Hessian matrix-the matrix of all partial second derivatives. The points near the poles and the saddle points require a more detailed analysis, but this can still be done analytically. The resulting formulae are then compared to numerical simulations of the lineshape. We expand this calculation to include a relatively simple case where there is chemical shielding anisotropy and use this to fit experimental (139)La spectra of La2O3.