Xenon is used in a limited number of commercial applications. It produces ultraviolet light in photographic flash lamps, stroboscopic lamps, high-intensity arc-lamps for motion picture projection, and high-pressure arc lamps (solar simulators). Other applications include general anaesthesia, xenon 'blue' headlights, and fog lights, which are said to be less tiring on the eyes. They outperform traditional lights in terms of illuminating road signs and markings.
William Ramsay and Morris Travers of University College London discovered xenon in July 1898. They'd already extracted neon, argon, and krypton from liquid air, and they were curious if it contained any other gases. They used a new liquid-air machine given to them by wealthy industrialist Ludwig Mond to extract more of the rare gas krypton. They eventually isolated a heavier gas by distilling it repeatedly, and when they examined it in a vacuum tube, it gave off a beautiful blue glow. They realised it was another member of the so-called "inert" group of gaseous elements, so named because of their lack of chemical reactivity at the time. The new gas was given the name xenon. In 1962, Neil Bartlett demonstrated that this gas was not inert by creating a fluorine derivative. More than 100 xenon compounds have been created so far.
According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, xenon is a trace gas found in the Earth's atmosphere at a concentration of about one part in 20 million. As a result, it is extremely rare. At 0.08 ppm, it can also be found in Mars' atmosphere.
This noble gas can also be found on the surface of the Earth. Xenon is emitted by some mineral springs. Gas for commercial use is obtained from industrial plants that extract the gas from liquid air.
Xenon can also be found on the surface of the Earth. Based on their knowledge of other noble gases, scientists have long suspected that 90 percent more of the gas should be found in the Earth's atmosphere. Yanming Ma, a computational physicist and chemist at Jilin University in Changchun, China, said, "The missing xenon paradox is a long-standing question,"
Scientists, including Ma, eventually discovered evidence that the missing gas could be found at the Earth's core. Extreme temperatures and pressures in the Earth's core may cause xenon to bond with iron and nickel, storing the gas there. "We do hope future high-pressure experiments can be carried out to confirm our predictions," Ma said.
When xenon is exposed to an electrical discharge, it emits a blue or lavender glow. Xenon lamps produce a brighter light than conventional lights. This gas is used in stroboscopic lamps, photographic flash lamps, high-intensity arc-lamps for motion picture projection, some deep-sea observation lamps, bactericidal lamps, sunbed lamps, and high-pressure arc. In fact, you're likely to come across xenon lamps on a regular basis. Xenon is used in some vehicle headlights. If you see headlights with a soft blue glow, they're most likely made of xenon.
The gas can also be used for other purposes. It's used to power nuclear reactors and to fill television and radio tubes. Xenon difluoride is used to etch silic
on microprocessors. Some satellites and other spacecraft use xenon ion propulsion systems to stay in orbit. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, xenon is even used to make a drug called 5-fluorouracil, which is used to treat certain types of cancer.
FEW INTERESTING FACTS
• As in Fukushima, radioactive iodine-131 can decay into stable xenon.
• Xenon isn't the only noble gas on the market. Noble gases include neon, argon, krypton, helium, and radon.
• You can fill balloons with xenon, just like helium, but it is very expensive and the balloon becomes very heavy due to the gas's density. According to a Royal Society of Chemistry experiment, an average balloon can hold around 40 lbs. (18.1 kilogrammes) of xenon.
• Quantum tornadoes are observed using xenon atoms added to liquid helium.