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Most applications of high-resolution NMR to questions of short-range order/disorder in inorganic materials have been made in systems where ions with unpaired electron spins are of negligible concentration, with structural information extracted primarily from chemical shifts, quadrupolar coupling parameters, and nuclear dipolar couplings. In some cases, however, the often-large additional resonance shifts caused by inter­actions between unpaired electron and nuclear spins can provide unique new structural information in materials with contents of paramagnetic cations ranging from hundreds of ppm to several per cent and even higher. In this brief review we focus on recent work on silicate, phosphate, and oxide materials with relatively low concentrations of paramagnetic ions, where spectral resolution can remain high enough to distinguish inter­actions between NMR-observed nuclides and one or more magnetic neighbors in different bonding configurations in the first, second, and even farther cation shells. We illustrate the types of information available, some of the limitations of this approach, and the great prospects for future experimental and theoretical work in this field. We give examples for the effects of paramagnetic transition metal, lanthanide, and actinide cation substitutions in simple oxides, pyrochlore, zircon, monazite, olivine, garnet, pyrochlores, and olivine structures.

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