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.

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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