IT is widely lamented that despite its unqualified success with spin-1/2 nuclei such as 13C, 29Si and31P, the popular NMR technique of magic-angle spinning (MAS) has experienced a somewhat restricted applicability among quadrupolar nuclei such as 17O, 23Na and 27A1 (refs 1-3). The resolution in the central (1/2 ↔-1/2) transition of these non-integer quadrupolar spins under MAS is thought to be limited primarily by second-order quadrupolar broadening. Such effects of second-order spatial anisotropy cannot be eliminated by rotation about a fixed axis or by multiple-pulse techniques4,5. More general mechanisms of sample reorientation (refs 6-8 and A. Samoson and A. Pines, manuscript in preparation) can, however, make high-resolution NMR of quadrupolar nuclei feasible. MAS is implemented by spinning a sample about a single axis so that second-rank spherical harmonics (which give rise to first-order broadening through anisotropy of electrical and magnetic interactions) are averaged away. But dynamic-angle-spinning (DAS) and double-rotation (DOR) NMR involve spinning around two axes, averaging away both the second- and fourth-rank spherical harmonics, which are responsible for second-order broadening. Here we present the application of these new techniques to 17O in two minerals, cristobalite (SiO2) and diopside (CaMgSi2O6). This work goes beyond previous results on 23Na (ref. 8) by showing the first experimental results using DAS and by demonstrating the application of DOR to the resolution of distinct oxygen sites in an important class of oxide materials.
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