Apart from Ozone, are there any longer oxygen molecules that are at least stable for short amounts of time? What configurations would that be?


1 Answer 1


According to my German version of Holleman-Wiberg: Inorganic Chemistry there is one additional, very short lived species, the so called tetraoxygen. A short article is also available on Wikipedia.

Wiberg describes it's synthesis from dioxygen in a mass-spectrometer employing the "neutralisation-reionisation-technique" (I am translating and paraphrasing at the same time, there might be something lost in translation.) It's stable time frame is in the micro second area. The decomposition barrier of $\ce{O4}$ is about 25 kJ/mol. The structure is not known, but most likely an aggregate of two oxygen molecules, i.e. $\ce{(O2)2}$. In lower concentrations $\ce{O4}$ might be found in liquid oxygen and they may be a template for the ε-high pressure modification of solid oxygen forming at 0.6 Mbar.

  1. Holleman, A., Wiberg, N., Wiberg, E., et al. (2008). Lehrbuch der Anorganischen Chemie. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. Kapitel XIII 1.1.4 Kurzlebige Sauerstoffspezies. S. 513f. (in german)
  2. Translation of the 101st edition available as Egon Wiberg and Nils Wiberg (2001) Holleman, Wiberg. Inorganic Chemistry. Academic Press.
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    $\begingroup$ According to wikipedia the epsilon phase of solid oxygen referred to in the answer has been shown by X-ray crystallography to contain O8 molecules. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_oxygen $\endgroup$
    – Ian Bush
    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:16

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