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Cullen, who successfully used it with two patients.
Xenon and the other noble gases were for a long time considered to be completely chemically inert and not able to form compounds.
In 1934, Edgerton was able to generate flashes as brief as one microsecond with this method. He tested the effects of varying the breathing mixtures on his subjects, and discovered that this caused the divers to perceive a change in depth.
From his results, he deduced that xenon gas could serve as an anesthetic. Lazarev apparently studied xenon anesthesia in 1941, the first published report confirming xenon anesthesia was in 1946 by American medical researcher John H. Xenon was first used as a surgical anesthetic in 1951 by American anesthesiologist Stuart C.
However, while teaching at the University of British Columbia, Neil Bartlett discovered that the gas platinum hexafluoride (Pt F and xenon have almost the same first ionization potential, Bartlett realized that platinum hexafluoride might also be able to oxidize xenon.
Solid xenon changes from face-centered cubic (fcc) to hexagonal close packed (hcp) crystal phase under pressure and begins to turn metallic at about 140 GPa, with no noticeable volume change in the hcp phase. When metallized, xenon appears sky blue because it absorbs red light and transmits other visible frequencies.
He inferred that this was a decay product of radioactive iodine-129.
This isotope is produced slowly by cosmic ray spallation and nuclear fission, but is produced in quantity only in supernova explosions.
Because xenon is a tracer for two parent isotopes, xenon isotope ratios in meteorites are a powerful tool for studying the formation of the Solar System.
The iodine–xenon method of dating gives the time elapsed between nucleosynthesis and the condensation of a solid object from the solar nebula. Reynolds discovered that certain meteorites contained an isotopic anomaly in the form of an overabundance of xenon-129.
Xenon is obtained commercially as a by-product of the separation of air into oxygen and nitrogen.