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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 May 27;94(20):205701. Epub 2005 May 23.

Evidence for a magnetic collapse in the epsilon phase of solid oxygen.

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Laboratoire Léon Brillouin C.E.A-C.N.R.S, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Solid oxygen is the only elementary molecular magnet. Under the very high pressure of 96 GPa oxygen transforms into a metal and a superconductor. Theory predicts a nonmagnetic state occurring before the transition into the superconducting xi phase. Nevertheless, until now there was no direct evidence of a magnetic collapse in high-pressure oxygen. For the first time direct information is provided on magnetic properties of the epsilon phase, which is sandwiched between the antiferromagnetic delta phase and the superconducting xi phase. We used magnetic neutron diffraction. The data show that the long-range magnetic order disappears at the delta-epsilon transition. The magnetic collapse occurs at P approximately equal to 8 GPa, far below the pressure of the insulator-metal (superconductor) transition. The collapse is preceded by a decrease in temperature of transition towards the long-range magnetically ordered state (T(LRO)) in the delta phase, at P = 7.6 GPa.

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