Usually, between providing a sample and getting first results, collaboration partners have to wait weeks at best, but rather months. The “response time” needs to be shortened dramatically, automating most of the processes involved. Two weeks between getting hold of a sample and a full-fledged basic characterisation and analysis are somewhat sensible, including (fitted) spectral simulations and extracted parameters.
The bottleneck for collaboration partners of EPR spectroscopists is usually the latter. The “rate limiting step” is less the available spectrometer time, but rather the proper acquisition of EPR spectra involving optimising parameters for each new sample and, much more so, the analysis of the data obtained. The latter cannot be left to the collaboration partner, due to the intrinsic complexity of EPR spectra.
While applying routine protocols for data acquisition and analysis helps a lot, automating as many of the different steps of these routines as possible will further speed up the process and make it much more reliable. This includes automating most of the initial experiments to optimise parameters as well as (and even simpler) the analysis of the obtained data, including fitting of simulations.
The result of this highly automated and routine process needs to be a generated report presenting a clearly presented overview of all the results for a sample. This is only possible using a framework for data processing and analysis and an infrastructure in the lab allowing to trace a sample and relate it to the measurements and their analyses.