The quantum dance of oxygen

International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

Like oxygen, for example: while exhibiting magnetic properties at intermediate pressures, oxygen molecules lose their magnetism at pressures above 80,000 atmospheres. The first non-magnetic phase, called epsilon, has been studied for years. The four scientists observed, in fact, that the four oxygen molecules in each group constantly exchanged magnetic moments. In the epsilon 1 phase of oxygen, the molecules retain their spins, but these fluctuate coherently within and across quartets like a chorus of cicadas, explains Tosatti. This study therefore divided the epsilon phase into two, epsilon 1 (from 80,000 to 200,000 atmospheres), with fluctuating magnetic properties, and epsilon 0 (from 200,000 to 1,000,000 atmospheres), without magnetic properties.

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