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Group 18
Period 2
Atomic Information
Atomic Number
Atomic Radius
58 pm
20.179 u
Noble gas
Standard state(298 K)
Electronic Configuration
Electronegativity (Pauling)
First ionisation energy
Physical Properties
Melting Point
24.56 K
Boiling Point
27.104 K
Density of solid
Heat Properties
Enthalpy of fusion
Enthalpy of atomisation
Enthalpy of vaporisation

Neon is the tenth element in the Periodic table according to its atomic number.Neon is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions. It is about two-thirds the density of air. Neon is inert, chemically, and doesnot form any compounds. It was discovered in 1898 along krypton and xenon. Neon has 14 isotopes whose half-lives are known, with mass numbers 16 to 29. Naturally occurring neon is a mixture of its three stable isotopes and they are found in the percentages shown: 20Ne (90.5%), 21Ne (0.7%) and 22Ne (9.2%).

Discovery of Neon

Neon was discovered in 1898 by William Ramsay and Morris Travers at University College London.

This was not the first time Ramsay had discovered a new element.

In 1894, he and Lord Rayleigh had discovered argon. Then, in 1895, Ramsay obtained the world’s first sample of helium. (Cleve and Langlet independently also obtained helium.)

Ramsay and Travers were aware an element must sit between helium and argon in the periodic table. But how could they find it?

Having found helium in a radioactive mineral, Ramsay thought it was possible he could find the new element in another such mineral. He and Travers spent some time working with a number of minerals, trying unsuccessfully to drive out some of the as yet undiscovered gas.

Aware of the history of chemistry, Ramsay knew that sometimes one new element can hide another. For example, Berzelius discovered cerium in the mineral that came to be known as cerite. Some years later Mosander, one of Berzelius’s former students, who had continued to study cerite, discovered the new element lanthanum. Lanthanum had been present in the cerite all along, but Berzelius had not found it. Ramsay wondered about the possibility of finding small amounts of the elusive new element hiding in one of his earlier discoveries, argon.

Ramsay and Travers froze a sample of argon using liquid air. They then slowly evaporated the argon under reduced pressure and collected the first gas that came off.

To obtain the gas’s spectrum, Travers applied a high voltage to the gas in a vacuum tube and we may reasonably guess that his mouth fell open at what he saw.

He later commented, “the blaze of crimson light from the tube told its own story and was a sight to dwell upon and never forget… For the moment the actual spectrum of the gas did not matter in the least, for nothing in the world gave a glow such as we had seen.” This was the first time anyone had seen the glow of a neon light. Ramsay named the newly discovered element ‘neon’ which is Greek for ‘new.’

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