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The applications of Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy have continued to grow unabated in recent years. The diversity of research fields in which EPR is now finding new use is truly remarkable for a spectroscopic technique which was once considered highly specialised and the exclusive domain of the trained practitioners. With more readily available and cheaper instruments, the traditional continuous wave (CW) technique remains the staple method of choice used by the wider scientific community, with the standard X-band measurements continuing to dominate the field. However, although the use of Pulsed and High Field EPR methods are, by comparison, less widely exploited, the level and sophistication of information provided by these methods on the paramagnetic state is exceptional, unprecedented and unparalleled. This information includes not just the simple detection and quantification of a free radical or paramagnetic ion, but also the detailed insights into the structure, conformation and dynamics of the spin system on length/time scales not easily accessible by other techniques. Furthermore, the application of the EPR method can be extended by use of ancillary spin probes, spin labels or spin traps that provide additional structural and dynamic information on the diamagnetic system or the identity of any transient free radicals. For all these reasons, EPR has and will continue to be the most powerful technique to inform, study and interrogate paramagnetic species in any system.

In this volume, we have therefore collected an exciting series of Chapters that we hope will best illustrate and exemplify some of the current application areas of EPR. In Chapter 1, Drescher focusses on intrinsically disordered proteins, demonstrating the unique level of detail and insight that EPR and in-cell EPR can provide on disordered structures. In Chapter 2, Barbon then focusses our attention on the vitally important field of advanced materials, by examining how 2D graphene-based nanomaterials and nanographites can be studied using EPR techniques. Nitroxide spin labels have without doubt become the quintessential paramagnetic probe molecule of choice in EPR spectroscopy over many decades, so Belle illustrates in Chapter 3 how biostructural systems can be studied in this way. In addition to the many application areas of EPR, numerous technical developments are also ongoing in the field. One such example, is the application of light induced hyperpolarization in EPR (and NMR), which has the potential to revolutionize the sensitivity limit and information content of these techniques, and this is covered by Wedge in Chapter 4. Finally, one research field that continues to benefit from EPR is catalysis, since the entire bond-making or bond-breaking catalytic processes frequently involved free radicals, and this area is covered by Murphy in Chapter 5.

As always, we hope that both the expert EPR reader and novice practitioner will value these timely reviews, offering a broad perspective on the latest developments in the field. Finally, we would also like to thank all of our reporters for their expert, prompt and efficient cooperation in the production of these Chapters and the staff at the Royal Society of Chemistry for their editorial support and patience.

Victor Chechik (York) and Damien M. Murphy (Cardiff)

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