NMR is a powerful spectroscopic method that can provide information on the structural disorder in solids, complementing scattering and diffraction techniques. The structural disorder in solids can generate a dispersion of local magnetic and electric fields, resulting in a distribution of isotropic chemical shift δiso
and quadrupolar coupling CQ
. For spin-1/2 nuclei, the NMR linewidth and shape under high-resolution magic-angle spinning (MAS) reflects the distributions of isotropic chemical shift, providing a rich source of disorder information. For quadrupolar nuclei, the second-order quadrupolar broadening remains present even under MAS. In addition to isotropic chemical shift, structural disorder can impact the electric field gradient (EFG) and consequently the quadrupolar NMR parameters. The distributions of quadrupolar coupling and isotropic chemical shift are superimposed with the second-order quadrupolar broadening, but can be potentially characterized by MQMAS (multiple-quantum magic-angle spinning) spectroscopy. We review analyses of NMR lineshapes in 2D DQ–SQ (double-quantum single-quantum) and MQMAS spectroscopies, to provide a guide for more general lineshape analysis. In addition, methods to enhance the spectral resolution and sensitivity for quadrupolar nuclei are discussed, including NMR pulse techniques and the application of high magnetic fields. The role of magnetic field strength and its impact on the strategy of determining optimum NMR methods for disorder characterization are also discussed.
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