XeF2 - Xenon Difluoride

What is Xenon Difluoride?

Xenon Difluoride is a chemical compound with the formula XeF2. It was discovered in the year 1962. It is a powerful fluoridating agent. XeF2 was considered to be a possible convenient replacement for elemental fluorine especially in addition reactions to a double bond. The oxidation state of xenon in Xenon Difluoride is +2. Xenon tetrafluoride has a negligible vapour pressure at -78° and about 3 mm-Hg at room temperature. Xenon difluoride is a hazardous chemical, reacting with water moisture to form hydrofluoric acid.

Other names – Difluoroxenon, Xenon fluoride

XeF2 Xenon Difluoride
Density 4.32 g/cm³
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 169.29 g/mol
Boiling Point 155 °C
Melting Point 128.6 °C
Chemical Formula XeF2

Xenon Difluoride Synthesis – XeF2

    • When a mixture of xenon and fluorine in the ratio of 2:1 is heated at 400oC in a sealed nickel vessel, XeF2 is formed.

Xe + F2 → XeF2

    • Dioxygen difluoride reacts with xenon at about 118oC to give XeF2.

Xe + O2F2 → XeF2 + O2

Xenon Difluoride Structure – XeF2

The structure of xenon difluoride is illustrated below.

Xenon Difluoride Structure



XeF2 structure features two covalent bonds between one xenon atom and two fluorine atoms. The xenon atom also holds 3 lone pairs of electrons.

Physical Properties of Xenon Difluoride – XeF2

Odour Nauseating odour
Appearance White solid
Covalently-Bonded Unit 1
Hydrogen Bond Acceptor 2
Complexity 2.8
Solubility Insoluble in water

Uses of Xenon Difluoride – XeF2

  • Used to oxidize and fluorinate the hetero element in an organometallic compound, but does not attack the alkyl or aryl groups
  • Used as a very convenient for the detection and determination of very small amounts of iodine and iodide based on the oxidation of iodine to periodate.
  • Used to kill bacteria, power lasers and tracers as an antiseptic. It is preferred to power spacecraft in deep space as fuel for ion engines.

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