Periodic Table -> Xenon
Xenon DetailsXenon Symbol:
XeXenon Atomic Number:
54Xenon Atomic Weight:
131.30What is Xenon?
(atomic number 54, symbol Xe) is a gas and chemical element that was first isolated in 1898 by the English chemist Morris Travers and the Scottish chemist William Ramsay. Ramsey also discovered the elements krypton and neon.
Properties and Isotopes
This is a noble gas which is tasteless, colorless, and odorless. It is a nonmetal and gas at room temperature. It forms compounds such as xenon hexafluoroplatinate and dioxygenyl hexafluoroplatinate. Over 80 xenon compounds have been studied. It reacts with platinum, oxygen, and fluorine to form compounds. Different compounds are formed when xenon reacts with fluorine, including xenon tetrafluoride and difluoride. The gas forms compounds such as oxohalides, oxides, halides, and others. Several fluorides have been studied, including xenon difluoride, xenon hexafluoride, and others. This element is a trace gas with a face-centered cubic structure which is composed of 8 stable isotopes. The unstable isotopes are over 40 in number. Neutron irradiation is used to produce Xe-135, Xe-133, and other radioactive isotopes. The boiling point is -162 °F (-108 °C) and the melting point is -169 °F (-111 °C). The most common oxidation states are +8, +6, +4, +2, +1, and 0.
Occurrence and Production
Some mineral springs release gases that contain xenon. It is also found in comets, asteroids, and the Earth’s atmosphere. The gas can be obtained through fractional distillation and separation techniques.
Medical and Commercial Uses
There are few commercial applications of xenon, which is added to road markings and signs. It is also used in high-pressure and motion picture projection lamps, high-intensity arc lamps, and stroboscopic and photographic lamps.
Xenon is used in lasers, projectors, solar simulators, and bactericidal lamps. There are other applications, including medical and commercial. Radioisotopes are used in imaging technologies such as tomography and gamma emission to image major organs such as the brain, lungs, and heart and to measure the blood flow. Xe-133 is an isotope for diagnostic use because it tends to concentrate in protein and water solutions, plasma, and blood. The gas is also used as general anesthetic in medicine. In addition to these applications, xenon is used in paint testers, bubble chambers, ultraviolet lamps, and electronic flashes.
Health Effects and Environmental Hazards
Exposure through inhalation may cause side effects such as loss of consciousness, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, deep coma, and even death. The symptoms include fatigue, emotional instability, air hunger, convulsions, and nausea. Concentrations of 75 percent and higher can be fatal. Xenon does not have carcinogenic properties. In normal concentrations, this element is chemically inert, non-toxic, and safe unless inhaled in high concentrations. Proper disposal of residual gas is required. Gas is usually stored in metal or sealed glass containers. Keeping xenon in rubber or plastic containers is unsafe. Oxygen compounds are considered a health hazard because they are toxic. In general, compounds should be handled with caution to limit radiation exposure. Some of its compounds, such as Xe-133 are unsafe for expectant mothers and can cause infertility.
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