Heretofore only observed in living systems, we report that weak-field ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) also occurs in inanimate matter. Weak magnetic field (50 nT) hydronium ICR at the field combination (7.84 Hz, 7.5 µT) markedly changes water structure, as evidenced by finding an altered index of refraction exactly at this combined field. This observation utilizes a novel technique which measures the scattering of a He-Ne laser beam as the sample is exposed to a ramped magnetic field frequency. In addition to the hydronium resonance, we find evidence of ICR coupling to a more massive structure, possibly a tetrahedral combination of three waters and a single hydronium ion. To check our observations, we extended this technique to D2O, successfully predicting the specific ICR charge-to-mass ratio for D3O+ that alters the index of refraction.
Keywords: Hydronium ion; heavy hydronium; index of refraction; ion cyclotron resonance; proton hopping; water.