X-ray–Induced Dissociation of H2O and Formation of an O2–H2 Alloy at High Pressure

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Science  27 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5799, pp. 636-638
DOI: 10.1126/science.1132884

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When subjected to high pressure and extensive x-radiation, water (H2O) molecules cleaved, forming O–O and H–H bonds. The oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H) framework in ice VII was converted into a molecular alloy of O2 and H2. X-ray diffraction, x-ray Raman scattering, and optical Raman spectroscopy demonstrated that this crystalline solid differs from previously known phases. It remained stable with respect to variations in pressure, temperature, and further x-ray and laser exposure, thus opening new possibilities for studying molecular interactions in the hydrogen-oxygen binary system.

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