Volume 95 Issue 7 | p. 5 | News of The Week
Issue Date: February 13, 2017 | Web Date: February 9, 2017

Helium forms stable molecules at high pressures

Findings broaden understanding of chemical reactivity, inertness, and astrochemistry
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Materials SCENE
Keywords: Inorganic chemistry, theoretical chemistry, helium, chemical bonding, high pressure

Chemistry textbook authors may soon have to rewrite sections covering noble gases and chemical inertness. An international research team has reported the synthesis of a helium-sodium compound that’s stable at high pressures (Nat. Chem. 2017, DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2716).

Helium’s best known feature is its unwillingness to react. With a stable closed-shell electron configuration, zero electron affinity, and an ionization energy that is higher than that . . .

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