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Superconductivity in oxygen


Among the simple diatomic molecules, oxygen is of particular interest because it shows magnetism at low temperatures. Moreover, at pressures exceeding 95 GPa (0.95 Mbar), solid molecular oxygen becomes metallic, accompanied by a structural transition1. The metallization process is characterized by an increase in optical reflectivity2, and a change in the slope of the resistance–temperature curve3. Here we report that at pressures of around 100 GPa, solid oxygen becomes superconducting, with a transition temperature of 0.6 K. The transition is revealed by both resistivity measurements and a Meissner demagnetization signal.

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Figure 1: Photographs of the oxygen sample and four electrodes on an insulated gasket in the pressure cell at pressures of a, 40; b, 6. 0; and c, 120 GPa.
Figure 2: Relative resistance (R/R1K) of oxygen as a function of temperature below 1 K at pressures of 98 (small circles)., 120 (large filled circles) and 125 GPa (open circles).
Figure 3: Magnetic field dependence of the transition at 120 GPa.
Figure 4: Detected Meissner signal from the superconducting oxygen at a magnetic field of 225 G.


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We thank T. C. Kobayashi for helpful discussion. This work was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Japan.

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Correspondence to K. Shimizu.

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Shimizu, K., Suhara, K., Ikumo, M. et al. Superconductivity in oxygen. Nature 393, 767–769 (1998).

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