Xenon – From medicine to space


Like many of its sibling noble gases, xenon was first discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay and M W Travers.

However, unlike its chemical family which is renowned for being non-toxic, chemically inert, and as the name suggests, benevolent- xenon is reputed for its far less stable, compound forms.

The element’s curious name derives from ‘xenos’, meaning stranger in Greek. Indeed, this seems apt as the Russian speciality gas manufacturer and supplier, Akela-N, was keen
to alert gasworld to the many guises and faces of xenon, from fuelling space craft to filling window panes.

Applications include medicine, the space industry, lighting, electronics, chemical technology, gas ionic lasers, exotic diving gases and in thermal mirrors and windows. Adding to this, recent scientific investment suggests that xenon will become an invaluable ‘smoking gun’ to detect nuclear reactions.

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