Synthesis and stability of xenon oxides Xe2O5 and Xe3O2 under pressure.

Nature chemistry

PubMedID: 27442284

Dewaele A, Worth N, Pickard CJ, Needs RJ, Pascarelli S, Mathon O, Mezouar M, Irifune T. Synthesis and stability of xenon oxides Xe2O5 and Xe3O2 under pressure. Nat Chem. 2016;8(8):784-90.
The noble gases are the most inert group of the periodic table, but their reactivity increases with pressure. Diamond-anvil-cell experiments and ab initio modelling have been used to investigate a possible direct reaction between xenon and oxygen at high pressures. We have now synthesized two oxides below 100 GPa (Xe2O5 under oxygen-rich conditions, and Xe3O2 under oxygen-poor conditions), which shows that xenon is more reactive under pressure than predicted previously. Xe2O5 was observed using X-ray diffraction methods, its structure identified through ab initio random structure searching and confirmed using X-ray absorption and Raman spectroscopies. The experiments confirm the recent prediction of Xe3O2 as a stable xenon oxide under high pressure. Xenon atoms adopt mixed oxidation states of 0 and +4 in Xe3O2 and +4 and +6 in Xe2O5. Xe3O2 and Xe2O5 form extended networks that incorporate oxygen-sharing XeO4 squares, and Xe2O5 additionally incorporates oxygen-sharing XeO5 pyramids. Other xenon oxides (XeO2, XeO3) are expected to form at higher pressures.