"The fundamental importance of oxide-based systems in technology, energy materials, geochemistry and catalysis, and the presence of oxygen in many biomaterials, should have resulted in oxygen nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy emerging as a vital tool for materials characterization. NMR offers an element-specific, atomic-scale probe of the local environment, providing a potentially powerful probe of local structure, disorder and dynamics in solids. However, despite the almost ubiquitous presence of oxygen in inorganic solids, oxygen NMR studies have been relatively scarce in comparison to other nuclei, owing primarily to the low natural abundance of the NMR-active isotope, 17O (0.037%). Hence, isotopic enrichment is necessary, often at considerable cost and effort. Furthermore, the presence of anisotropic quadrupolar broadening (and the need for complex high-resolution experiments) has also limited the development and application of 17O NMR to date. Here, we propose to develop an internationally-leading research programme to exploit the largely untapped potential of 17O spectroscopy. This wide-ranging programme will involve (i) the exploration of novel synthetic approaches for cost-efficient isotopic enrichment, (ii) the development of new solid-state NMR methodology, specific for 17O, (iii) the application of state-of-the-art first-principles calculations of 17O NMR parameters and (iv) the application of these methods to three different areas of investigation: high-pressure silicate minerals, microporous materials and ceramics for waste encapsulation. The ultimate long-term aim is to change the way in which solid-state chemists characterise materials; so that solid-state NMR (and 17O NMR in particular) is viewed as a necessary and important step in the refinement of a detailed structural model."
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