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The Element Xenon

[Click for Isotope Data]





Atomic Number: 54

Atomic Weight: 131.293

Melting Point: 161.36 K (-111.79°C or -169.22°F)

Boiling Point: 165.03 K (-108.12°C or -162.62°F)

Density: 0.005887 grams per cubic centimeter

Phase at Room Temperature: Gas

Element Classification: Non-metal

Period Number: 5    Group Number: 18    Group Name: Noble Gas

What's in a name? From the Greek word for stranger, xenon.

Say what? Xenon is pronounced as ZEE-non.

History and Uses:

Xenon was discovered by Sir William Ramsay, a Scottish chemist, and Morris M. Travers, an English chemist, on July 12, 1898, shortly after their discovery of the elements krypton and neon. Like krypton and neon, xenon was discovered through the study of liquefied air. The earth's atmosphere is about 0.0000087% xenon.

Xenon produces a brilliant white flash of light when it is excited electrically and is widely used in strobe lights. The light emitted from xenon lamps is also used to kill bacteria and to power ruby lasers.

Due to its high atomic weight, xenon ions were used as a fuel in an experimental ion engine aboard the space probe Deep Space 1.

Once thought to be completely inert, xenon will form compounds, usually with fluorine, oxygen and platinum. XePtF6, XeF2, XeF4, XeF6 and XeO4 are some of the xenon compounds that have been formed.

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 3×10-5 milligrams per kilogram

Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 5×10-5 milligrams per liter

Number of Stable Isotopes: 6   (View all isotope data)

Ionization Energy: 12.130 eV

Oxidation States: 0

Electron Shell Configuration:


2s2   2p6

3s2   3p6   3d10

4s2   4p6   4d10

5s2   5p6