The underlying mechanism for these remarkable phenomena has been fascinating to scientists for decades; especially the origin of the recently discovered molecular cluster (O2)4 in the dense solid, red oxygen phase.
Researchers from the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory (GL), with colleagues* found that under pressure the molecules interact through their outermost electron clouds or "orbitals." Using a newly developed synchrotron technique at HPCAT, the lab's synchrotron facility at Argonne National Laboratory, the researchers found that the interaction of these half-filled orbitals increases with increasing pressure, changing the location of the orbitals, and bringing the four oxygen molecules together to form the (O2)4 clusters at a pressure about 10,000 times the atmospheric pressure (10 gigapascals). The study is published the week of August 4, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The molecular interaction in oxygen revealed by this study is due to the unique fact that oxygen's outmost orbital is half-filled with two unpaired electrons," explained Yue Meng, lead author of the study at HPCAT. "As the molecules are squeezed into smaller volumes at high pressure, electrons in the orbital inevitably move about, trying to pair with electrons in the neighboring molecules."
To study the dense solid phases of oxygen, the researchers developed the high-pressure inelastic X-ray scattering technique at the Advanced Photon Source, a high-brilliance synchrotron X-ray facility at Argonne. The technique uses the synchrotron X-ray beam to probe the electronic bonding change as a diamond anvil cell subjects a sample to many hundreds of thousands of atmospheres. The researchers combined their experimental results with theoretical calculations by collaborators to further reveal that there is an increasing interactions between the neighboring (O2)4 clusters in the red-colored oxygen, providing a mechanism for forming new bonding between the oxygen clusters in still higher pressure phases.
"The behavior of oxygen at high pressure demonstrates one of the most profound effects of pressure on matter, which transforms the colorless air we breath into colorful dense solids," continued Meng. "The drastic change in the appearance of this familiar gas is due to the bonding changes in oxygen induced by high pressure."
"This is the first demonstration of how new tools can be used to probe the subtle interactions between atoms and molecules that lead to the formation of entirely new crystal structures," said Russell J. Hemley, the GL's director. "These new structures may give rise to entirely new electronic, magnetic, and other physical properties that could lead to new technologies."
The formation of molecular clusters through the anti-bonding orbital called ?* is well known in organic chemistry and the electron delocalization in cluster orbitals provides several potentials for technical applications. "It is exciting to find that oxygen forms molecular clusters under high pressure through similar mechanism and this opens a possibility for new forms of materials at high pressure with potential for technical applications," Meng concluded.
Do ice cores help to unravel the clouds of climate history?
21.06.2019 | Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
News from the diamond nursery
21.06.2019 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.
Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap
The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.
Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
25.06.2019 | Architecture and Construction
25.06.2019 | Life Sciences
25.06.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering