Reachable goals

Often enough, theoretically the experiment necessary to conduct for addressing a question will be obvious, but the conditions not possible to meet for a plethora of reasons. This starts off with the availability of special equipment necessary and may end with hard physical constraints. Therefore, intelligently combining and using the methods and possibilities readily available to narrow down possibly successful highly specialised additional measurements is much more effective. This needs to be combined with further developing analysis tools and automating more and more tasks to allow researchers to address the real questions rather than operating their spectrometers.

A series of well-conducted experiments and properly analysed data is much better, even if the result shows clearly that much more complicated experiments need to be performed to address the question at hand, than waiting for some developments or not conducting experiments due to lack of specialised equipment. This does not mean at all that developing the technique further – be it high fields, be it advanced pulse methods – is not necessary. It only rates those experiments and analyses that we can achieve here and how higher than waiting for the overall situation to improve.

One particular problem of EPR spectroscopy is its inherent costs and therefore rather poor return on investment compared to other methods. On the other hand, particularly the analysis of EPR data is often not as advanced as it could be. Digital signal processing is a domain on its own, but many problems EPR spectroscopists face when analysing their data have been solved already. Additionally, developing further measurement and analysis software is much cheaper (and faster) than developing hardware.

One big step towards developing EPR spectroscopy into a platform and tool for routinely addressing the pressing scientific questions of today is to streamline and automate the process from data acquisition all the way to presenting the results of the analysis, thus freeing the scientists from repeatedly performing routine tasks and having to achieve internal consistency themselves.