Triplet dynamic nuclear polarization (triplet-DNP) achieves nuclear spin polarization at moderate temperatures by using spin polarization of photoexcited triplet electrons. The applications of triplet-DNP for biomolecules have been hampered because acenes, the only polarizing agents used so far, tend to aggregate and lose their polarization in biomolecular matrices. Here, we report for the first time use of porphyrins as polarizing agents of triplet-DNP and propose a new concept of aggregation-tolerant polarizing agents. Sodium salts of tetrakis(4-carboxyphenyl)porphyrin (TCPPNa) can be dispersed in amorphous as well as crystalline biomolecular matrices, and importantly, it can generate polarized triplet electrons even in a slightly aggregated state. Triplet-DNP of crystalline erythritol containing slightly aggregated TCPPNa can achieve more than 120-fold signal enhancement. Because TCPPNa is also the first biocompatible triplet-DNP polarizing agent, this work provides a crucial step forward for the biological and medical applications of triplet-DNP.
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