60GHz and Oxygen

There are many claims about how 60GHz radio waves interacts with Oxygen. Some of the claims include:

  • 60GHz absorbs Oxygen
  • Oxygen absorbs 60GHz and accelerates the electrons preventing interaction with Hemoglobin in humans
  • Electrons are ejected from oxygen atoms due to 60GHz, thus are ionized
  • The oxygen atoms are modified is unspecified ways preventing interaction with Hemoglobin in humans

None of these are correct. To clarity: 60GHz does get absorbed by Oxygen at a much higher rate than other frequencies of radio waves.

Absorption of radio waves in atmosphere.

This absorption is due to a particular property of Oxygen related to electron spin.  Two atoms of Oxygen are bound and their lowest energy electrons always have the same spin.  The energy level to flip both of these spins is the same as a 60GHz photon.  The nice thing about flipping both spins is that the molecule is just the mirror image of the other state so chemically behaves the same.  There is no impact on bonding with hemoglobin.

Further this state is very temporary. Shortly after this interaction takes place and new photon is emitted in a random direction and the molecule goes back to its original state.

There are several resources to refer to on this topic: