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Formation of xenon-nitrogen compounds at high pressure

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  • Ross T. Howie
  • Robin Turnbull
  • Jack Binns
  • Mungo Frost
  • Philip Dalladay-Simpson
  • Eugene Gregoryanz

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Original languageEnglish
Article number34896
Number of pages6
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2016


Molecular nitrogen exhibits one of the strongest known interatomic bonds, while xenon possesses a closed-shell electronic structure: a direct consequence of which renders both chemically unreactive. Through a series of optical spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction experiments, we demonstrate the formation of a novel van der Waals compound formed from binary Xe-N-2 mixtures at pressures as low as 5 GPa. At 300 K and 5 GPa Xe(N-2)(2)-I is synthesised, and if further compressed, undergoes a transition to a tetragonal Xe(N-2)(2)-II phase at 14 GPa; this phase appears to be unexpectedly stable at least up to 180 GPa even after heating to above 2000 K. Raman spectroscopy measurements indicate a distinct weakening of the intramolecular bond of the nitrogen molecule above 60 GPa, while transmission measurements in the visible and mid-infrared regime suggest the metallisation of the compound at similar to 100 GPa.

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