Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Geosciences Professor Predicts Stable Compounds of Oxygen and “Inert” Gas Xenon

13.11.2012
An international team led by Artem R. Oganov, PhD, a professor of theoretical crystallography in the Department of Geosciences and Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University, has established stability of several oxides of normally inert xenon.

These compounds are predicted to be stable at high pressures above 830,000 atmospheres, i.e. at pressures corresponding to the Earth’s mantle and readily achievable in the laboratory. The results of their work, "Xenon oxides and silicates at high pressures,” were published November 11 in Nature Chemistry(1)

Dr. Oganov and his team used Oganov’s novel method for crystal structure prediction, which allowed them to find optimal structures and compositions of new compounds at any given pressure. In this work, they applied it to finding stable xenon oxides and silicates.

It has earlier been suggested that xenon oxides or silicates are formed in Earth’s interior, and prevent xenon from escaping into the atmosphere – thus explaining the “missing xenon paradox”, i.e. the observed order-of-magnitude depletion of xenon in the atmosphere.

“Xenon has to be stored in Earth’s mantle, otherwise we would have to admit that the existing chemical models of the Earth are deficient, probably as a result of an unknown cosmochemical process that removed xenon from the Earth,” said Oganov. “We have found that while xenon silicates cannot be stable at pressures of the Earth’s mantle, xenon oxides do become stable at these conditions.

However, these are extremely strong oxidants and cannot exist in the reducing environment of the Earth’s deep mantle. Our work, however, suggest another possibility – since strong Xe-O bonds can be formed under pressure, xenon atoms can be trapped and retained by defects and grain boundaries of mantle minerals, and our simulations give suggestions for local geometries of such trapping sites.”

In addition to solving an important geological puzzle, present results shed light on the still elusive chemistry of xenon. The very possibility of xenon, an inert gas, to form stable chemical compounds with fluorine and oxygen, was proposed theoretically by Pauling in 1932 and verified in 1962 in landmark experiments by Neil Bartlett.

However, only xenon fluorides were found to be thermodynamically stable; xenon oxides turned out to be unstable to decomposition into xenon and oxygen, with some decomposing explosively. The work of Oganov’s group for the first time finds stable xenon oxides, and concludes that high pressure is necessary for their stability.

The new structures are very rich in chemistry: with increasing pressure, increasing oxidation states of xenon are found, from +2 to +4 to +6. Predictions include some very unusual structures; for example, the P42/mnm phase of XeO3 contains linear chains of O2 molecules, which partially dissociate on increasing pressure. The authors found a very clear electronic signature of different valence states of xenon in different structures – something that could pave the way for new advances in the theory of chemical bonding. Another surprise was the unexpectedly high (50%) degree of ionicity in these semiconducting compounds.

“Chemical bonding appears to be simpler than expected by many,” said graduate student Qiang Zhu, the lead author of this paper. “You don’t need to invoke d-orbitals and exotic types of hybridization of Xe atoms. Bonding is significantly ionic; valence states differ by the number of p-electrons removed from Xe atoms, and pressure is essential for enabling such significantly ionic bonding”. Pressure-induced ionization, observed in many other compounds and even pure elements, appears to soften interatomic repulsions.

“In addition to providing a likely solution to the missing xenon paradox and clarifying essential aspects of xenon chemistry, our study may result in practical applications,” says Oganov. “For example, the ability of xenon to form strong chemical bonds with oxygen and other elements, and to be trapped in crystalline defects, suggests their use as non-classical luminescence centers and active sites for catalysis”.

(1) Zhu Q., Jung D.Y., Oganov A.R., Glass C.W., Gatti C., Lyakhov A.O. Stability of xenon oxides at high pressures. Nature Chemistry doi:10.1038/nchem.1497 (2012). http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nchem.1497.pdf

Artem R. Oganov | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.stonybrook.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht NSF-funded researchers find that ice sheet is dynamic and has repeatedly grown and shrunk
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single-photon detector can count to 4

18.12.2017 | Information Technology

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms

18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water

18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>