Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

William H. Nelson - Chair

Second Advisor

Thomas L. Netzel

Third Advisor

A. G. Unil Perera

Fourth Advisor

Brian D. Thoms

Fifth Advisor

Gary Hastings


Single crystals of sodium salt of guanosine dihydrate and 9 Ethyl Guanine were X-irradiated with the objective of identifying the radical products. Study with K-band EPR, ENDOR, and ENDOR-Induced EPR techniques indicated at least four radical species to appear in both crystals in the temperature range of 6K to room temperature. Three of these radicals (Radicals R1, R2, and R3) were present immediately after irradiation at 6K. Computational chemistry and EPR spectrum simulation methods were also used to assist in radical identifications. Radical R1, the product of net hydrogen addition to N7, and Radical R2, the product of electron loss from the parent molecule, were observed in both systems. Radical R3, in Na+.Guanosine-.2H2O, is the product of net hydrogen abstraction from C1' of ribose group and radical R3 in 9EtG was left unassigned due to insufficient experimental data. Radical R4, the C8-H addition radical, was also detected in both systems. For Na+.Guanosine-.2H2O, R4 was observed after warming the irradiated crystals to the room temperature. But for the 9EtG crystals the corresponding radical form was detected after irradiation at room temperature. Density functional theory (DFT) based computational studies was conducted to investigate the radical formation mechanisms and their stability. Here possibilities of proton transfers from the neighboring molecules were considered. The first approach was to consider the proton affinities of the acceptor sites and deprotonation enthalpies of the donor sites. This approach supported the formation of radicals observed in both systems. The second approach, applied only to the 9EtG system, was based on proton transfers between 9EtG base-pair anion and cation radicals. Even though the charge and spins were localized as expected, the computed thermodynamic data predicted that the proton transfer processes are unfavorable for both anionic and cationic base-pairs. This indicates the need for additional work to draw final conclusions. In addition, DFT methods were used to compute the geometries and hyperfine coupling constants of 9EtG derived radicals in both single molecule and cluster models. The calculated results agreed well with the experimental results.