Atomic Number: 10
Atomic Symbol: Ne
Atomic Weight: 20.179
Electron Configuration: [He]2s22p6
History(Gr. neos, new) Discovered by Ramsay and Travers in 1898. Neon is a
rare gaseous element present in the atmosphere to the extent of 1 part in 65,000
of air. It is obtained by liquefaction of air and separated from the other gases
by fractional distillation.
IsotopesNatural neon is a mixture of three isotopes. Six other unstable
isotopes are known.
CompoundsNeon, a very inert element, is however said to form a compound with
fluorine. It is still questionable if true compounds of neon exist, but evidence
is mounting in favor of their existence. The ions, Ne+, (NeAr)+,
(NeH)+, and (HeNe+) are known from optical and mass
spectrometric studies. Neon also forms an unstable hydrate.
PropertiesIn a vacuum discharge tube, neon glows reddish orange.
It has over 40 times more refrigerating capacity per unit volume
than liquid helium and more than three times that of liquid hydrogen. It is
compact, inert, and is less expensive than helium when it meets refrigeration
Of all the rare gases, the discharge of neon is the most intense
at ordinary voltages and currents.
UsesAlthough neon advertising signs account for the bulk of its use, neon
also functions in high-voltage indicators, lightning arrestors, wave meter
tubes, and TV tubes. Neon and helium are used in making gas lasers. Liquid neon
is now commercially available and is finding important application as an
economical cryogenic refrigerant.
Sources: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and
Physics and the American Chemical Society.