Chemistry 242 - Inorganic Chemistry II
Chapter 21 - The Noble Gases


Until comparatively recently, it was believed that the noble gases "had no chemistry". The observation that dioxygen reacts with platinum hexafluoride lead N. Bartlett to attempt a similar reaction with Xe in the early '60's. His attempt was prompted by his recognition that the first ionization enthalpy of Xe was almost identical to that of O2 (going to O2+).

O2   +   PtF6      [O2]+[PtF6]-

Xe   +   PtF6      "[Xe]+[PtF6]-"

The compound actually formed with xenon was subsequently found to have a more complicated structure, but nevertheless, the way was paved for an exhaustive investigation of the chemistry of the noble gases.

The Chemistry of Xenon

The known compounds with fluorine and oxygen are listed in Table 21-2: A detailed study of this topic is not necessary for chem 242. There are also a few compounds containing a Xe-C bond, for example:
XeF2   +   B(C6H5)3      [C6H5Xe]+[F3B(C6H5)]-   +   other products

Other Noble Gas Chemistry

Krypton forms only the unstable KrF2. Radon probably has a chemistry more extensive than xenon, but because of its radioactivity, has not been very much studied.