The aerospace industry has been using Xenon since the 1960s. It has been used for satellite programs, space travel, and propellant for ion thrusters in spacecraft and satellites. Airports also use Xenon for runway lighting due to its bright blue hue.
What Is Xenon Gas?
Xenon (Xe) is a heavy and extremely rare noble gas. Xenon was discovered in 1898 and it was the first noble gas found to form true chemical compounds. It has a very high ionization potential, high density (more than 4.5 times heavier than air) and low heat capacity. Its atomic number is 54.
Industry Applications for Xenon Gas
Xenon is a trace gas and is used in a wide variety of applications.
It is a component of excimer laser mixes to produce certain wavelengths. It is a required component in the gas mixes used to produce 282nm (XeBr), 308nm (XeCl), and 351nm (XeF).
Xe is used in sputter deposition, especially when depositing coatings with higher molecular weights. It is more expensive than commonly used argon, but a higher yield and better coating is obtained when coating with heavier atoms. Xenon is often used for sputter coating heavier coatings including those used to make hard disks.
Xenon has long been used as a propellant for satellites and other spacecraft. It is a preferred propellant for electric propulsion whether with Hall effect thrusters or ion thrusters. The thrusters ionize and expel the xenon at up to hundreds of kilometers per second providing in-space propulsion many times more efficient than conventional chemical propulsion. Xenon electric propulsion has been used for orbit-raising and station keeping of satellites and has been used to send space probes to Mercury and the asteroid belt.
Xenon’s physical and chemical properties make it useful in lighting applications. It is used in incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and high intensity discharge lamps.
It is used for production of semiconductors in annealing, etching and lithography applications. Krypton acts both as surface disruption agent and a plasma modulator, influencing the composition of plasmas through secondary ionization. Historically secondary ionization and surface disruption was achieved using argon due to cost and availability, but krypton provides the ability to select for ions present in plasma in additional ways.
Xenon mixes are used in detectors including those used to detect radiation and infrared light. Xenon is even used in the very large detectors used to find dark matter.
Xenon even has some medical applications, including use to enhance MRI imaging or as anesthesia.
- In the lighting industry: Both sodium and mercury lamps, which are used extensively for outdoor and roadway lighting are filled with pure xenon.
- Used for incandescent lamps, iodine lamps (car headlights), arc lights, flash bulbs, cinema projection lamps, Klieg lights for filming (sunlight simulation), and space simulation lamps.
- When mixed with oxygen, xenon is used in CAT (Computer Aided Tomography) scanners for blood flow mapping.
- When mixed with methane, xenon is used as a fill gas for proportional counters and other types of radiation detectors.
- Xenon-based chemical compounds can serve as fluorinating and oxidizing agents.
- Used for mass spectrometer calibration.
- Used in some types of ion and excimer lasers.
|Grade 4.5||Grade 5||Grade 5.5|
|Nitrogen||<5 ppm||< 4 ppm||< 1 ppm|
|Oxygen||< 2 ppm||< 1 ppm||< 0.1 ppm|
|Carbon Monoxide||< 1 ppm||< 0.5 ppm||< 0.2 ppm|
|Carbon Dioxide||< 1 ppm||< 0.5 ppm||< 0.2 ppm|
|Moisture||< 2 ppm||< 1 ppm||< 0.5 ppm|
|Total Hydrocarbons||< 1 ppm||< 0.5 ppm||< 0.1 ppm|
|Krypton||<25 ppm||< 3 ppm||< 2 ppm|
|Total Fluorocarbons||< 0.1 ppm|
|Argon||< 1 ppm||< 1 ppm|
|Hydrogen||< 1 ppm||< 2 ppm|
|Halocarbon 14||< 0.1 ppm|
|Chemical & Physical Properties|
|Specific Volume||2.9 cu.ft/lb|
|Pressure @ 70° F||1000 psia|
|Valve Outlet||CGA 580|
|DOT No.||UN 2036|
|DOT Label||Green, Non-Flammable Gas|
|Cylinder Size||Fill Volume (L)|
FAQs about Xenon
Xenon and Halogen are commonly used for car headlights. Xenon gas headlights are also more energy-efficient, using half as much energy as typical Halogen bulbs. Xenon gas has superior brightness on the road, all while minimizing the glare that shines on oncoming traffic.
**Moisture level guaranteed only when Electronic Fluorocarbons prepares the cylinders.
All concentrations are on a mol/mol basis unless otherwise stated.
Product sold on the basis of total impurities. Individual impurities may vary slightly.
*This gas not available for purchase online.