Xenon is beneficial in medical applications.
Xenon is a noble gas. It has numerous applications, one of them is to detect the dark matter. It is due to its unreactive property. The name Xenon for a chemical compound is derived from the Greek word ‘Xenos’ meaning ‘stranger’. It is denoted with the symbol as ‘Xe’ in the periodic table having atomic number 54. It is first discovered around 1900. This element is odourless, colourless and dense.
What makes Xenon so ideal to detect the very sensitive dark matter? Xenon is very stable. Thus, it doesn’t react with any other element. This characteristic is taken into consideration by scientists at Xenon experiment. The experiment is installed underground in Italy to study radioactive backgrounds. Recently, scientists measured a radioactive decay of one of the isotopes of Xenon, named Xenon-124. Its half-life is measured to be about one trillion times longer than the age of the universe. There are naturally occurring seven isotopes of Xenon and two very long-lived isotopes.
Xenon is also used for various medical and chemical applications. Anesthesia, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and neuroprotectant are to name a few. Low toxicity and no development malfunctions in the body, rapid induction and recovery and cardiovascular stability makes Xenon beneficial for its application as an anesthetic. Its availability and high cost are the only demerits. The trace gas on the Earth is also applicable in other areas such as Nuclear energy studies, Laser technology, and Gas discharge lamps, etc.
Xenon is the second heaviest material on the earth. It is one of the rare gases. But, Xenon is vanishing from the earth's atmosphere. Approximately 90% of the xenon is missing that was expected to be in the earth's atmosphere. It was estimated previously by scientists that xenon must be hiding at the core of the planet. Xenon produces isotopes at high pressures (Giga-Pascals) and temperatures (exceeding 1600°C). This was ruled out after sophisticated experiments carried out by Professors at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Another claim scientists put forward the claim of xenon escaping through the earth's atmosphere. According to some experts, this logic must be applicable to our twin planet -Mars. Then only it can hold a value to this claim.
Scientists claim that Xenon does not originated on the Earth. On the other hand, there are theories which insist that xenon was brought on earth by comets, like other elements such as water, Ice etc. This is theoritised by B. Marty and her collaborating team from various parts of the world. Though there are different causes to guess, a strong proven experimental result is still on hold. Only 10% xenon is available. It accounts for 1 part in 20 million of the air.
Edited by: Anomitra Dey
7. DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3496 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6342/1069