Document Type



Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Physics



Publication Date



The spin–lattice relaxation time T1 was measured in gaseous CH4 as a function of density at room temperature between 0.006 and 7.0 amagats. T1 was found to pass through a minimum near 0.04 amagats in agreement with previous, less precise measurements. The spin–rotation interaction is the dominant relaxation mechanism in gaseous CH4. Since the spin–rotation constants are accurately known for CH4, the relaxation experiments provide a check on the theory of spin–lattice relaxation for spherical top molecules. In the conventional theory, it is assumed that the correlation function of the spin–rotation interaction is a simple exponential function of time. These experiments show that this assumption is not true for CH4 gas. The observed fine structure in the plot of relaxation rate versus density is attributed to the influence of centrifugal distortion of the CH4molecule, which removes the degeneracy of rotational states having the same value of the quantum number J by an amount somewhat greater than the nuclear Larmor frequency of 30 MHz.


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