Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 


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

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).

Artem R. Oganov | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents
12.12.2017 | Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

nachricht How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas
11.12.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Lange Speicherung photonischer Quantenbits für globale Teleportation

Wissenschaftler am Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik erreichen mit neuer Speichertechnik für photonische Quantenbits Kohärenzzeiten, welche die weltweite...

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...

Im Focus: Neue Einblicke in die Materie: Hochdruckforschung in Kombination mit NMR-Spektroskopie

Forschern der Universität Bayreuth und des Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) ist es erstmals gelungen, die magnetische Kernresonanzspektroskopie (NMR) in Experimenten anzuwenden, bei denen Materialproben unter sehr hohen Drücken – ähnlich denen im unteren Erdmantel – analysiert werden. Das in der Zeitschrift Science Advances vorgestellte Verfahren verspricht neue Erkenntnisse über Elementarteilchen, die sich unter hohen Drücken oft anders verhalten als unter Normalbedingungen. Es wird voraussichtlich technologische Innovationen fördern, aber auch neue Einblicke in das Erdinnere und die Erdgeschichte, insbesondere die Bedingungen für die Entstehung von Leben, ermöglichen.

Diamanten setzen Materie unter Hochdruck

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>



im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics

Materialinnovationen 2018 – Werkstoff- und Materialforschungskonferenz des BMBF

13.12.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Innovativer Wasserbau im 21. Jahrhundert

13.12.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Innovative Strategien zur Bekämpfung von parasitären Würmern

08.12.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Rest-Spannung trotz Megabeben

13.12.2017 | Geowissenschaften

Computermodell weist den Weg zu effektiven Kombinationstherapien bei Darmkrebs

13.12.2017 | Medizin Gesundheit

Winzige Weltenbummler: In Arktis und Antarktis leben die gleichen Bakterien

13.12.2017 | Geowissenschaften