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Such non-equilibrium alignment of spins is a temporary condition, and is called hyperpolarization.

In 1934, Edgerton was able to generate flashes as brief as one microsecond with this method. He tested the effects of varying the breathing mixtures on his subjects, and discovered that this caused the divers to perceive a change in depth.

From his results, he deduced that xenon gas could serve as an anesthetic. Lazarev apparently studied xenon anesthesia in 1941, the first published report confirming xenon anesthesia was in 1946 by American medical researcher John H. Xenon was first used as a surgical anesthetic in 1951 by American anesthesiologist Stuart C.

However, while teaching at the University of British Columbia, Neil Bartlett discovered that the gas platinum hexafluoride (Pt F and xenon have almost the same first ionization potential, Bartlett realized that platinum hexafluoride might also be able to oxidize xenon.

On March 23, 1962, he mixed the two gases and produced the first known compound of a noble gas, xenon hexafluoroplatinate.

By additional fractional distillation, the liquid oxygen may be enriched to contain 0.1–0.2% of a krypton/xenon mixture, which is extracted either by absorption onto silica gel or by distillation.

Finally, the krypton/xenon mixture may be separated into krypton and xenon by further distillation.

Xenon is obtained commercially as a by-product of the separation of air into oxygen and nitrogen.

After this separation, generally performed by fractional distillation in a double-column plant, the liquid oxygen produced will contain small quantities of krypton and xenon.

The nuclear spins can be aligned beyond ordinary polarization levels by means of circularly polarized light and rubidium vapor.

The resulting spin polarization of xenon nuclei can surpass 50% of its maximum possible value, greatly exceeding the thermal equilibrium value dictated by paramagnetic statistics (typically 0.001% of the maximum value at room temperature, even in the strongest magnets).

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