What is Xenon?

Xenon is a chemical element.  You can find it on the periodic table.  It’s atomic number is 54 and is a fairly heavy gas.  It only really exists in small amounts in the earth’s atmosphere.

Xenon is what is referred to as an inert gas.  This means that it is stable and won’t react to much react with many other elements.  Xenon gas is clear and it doesn’t have a smell either.

Xenon is also one of the noble gases.  Noble gases are a group of elements that are very stable and have very low chemical reactivity.  They were also once thought to be the only elements that will not react to or with other chemical elements.  This is no longer the case though as scientist have since figured out how to do so.

Xenon is used for many purposes.  If xenon is placed inside a vacuum tube and an electrical charge is passed through it will excite the xenon and it will start to glow.  Xenon produces colors all along the visual spectrum but it is strongest in the blue range and this is why is glows blue when the electrical current is applied.

Because xenon glows so brightly it has been used for lasers in the past and is used most commonly today for automotive headlights.  HID lights shine brighter than any other type of lights.  And because xenon is a very stable element with a low reactive point, but is easily energized if you will to produce it’s light, it takes very little energy to run them.  And in turn the low amount needed means little loss due to heat loss making it a very efficient element to use.

Another thing that xenon is used for is in surgery.  In 1951 xenon was first successfully used in surgery as anesthesia.  In 1931 a doctor deduced that xenon could be used as an anesthetic from observing deep sea divers.  Apparently this man was experiment with air mixtures to try and combat “drunkenness” syndrome that occurs with deep sea divers.  Apparently there was xenon in one of the mixtures which gave him the idea of using it as an anesthetic.