A study has been made of the interaction of oxygen with samples of zinc oxide and ultraviolet‐irradiated magnesium oxide using electron paramagnetic resonance techniques. Adsorption of oxygen at room temperature results in the rapid formation of a radical species, having gxx=2.077, gyy=2.0011, and gzz=2.0073 for oxygen on irradiated MgO and gxx=2.051, gyy=2.0020, and gzz=2.0082 for oxygen on ZnO. The radical is stable to temperatures of 200°C. The nature of this species is discussed and it is postulated that O2 is the entity adsorbed on the surface.

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