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About Neon

Neon Bohr

Neon is a noble gas, and perhaps surprisingly, the fifth most plentiful element in the cosmos (after hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon); however, its abundance in Earth’s atmosphere is rather rare (about 18 ppm). No known neutral compounds exist with this chemically unreactive element, and therefore neon cannot affix itself to any solids. It is theorized that neon’s volatile nature with high vapor pressure and relative lightness caused the element to escape in large quantities during the formation of Earth as a planet, under the sun’s blanket of heat. Neon was discovered, as with many noble gases, through fractional distillation of liquefied air in 1898 by British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. In fact, this rare atmospheric element was discovered a mere two weeks after another noble gas, krypton. This method of isolating atmospheric elements was clearly fruitful as Ramsay won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1904 for these numerous discoveries.

Neon is an iconic element and can only be produced through fractional distillation of liquefied air. Because of these two factors, neon can be a relatively expensive element to produce and purchase. Its attractive characteristics in lighting applications are enabled by its activation (atom separation and recombination in a vacuum tube) at nominal voltages and currents in modern electrical systems. Neon itself is reddish-orange when activated, but lighting apparatuses can replicate a number of colors in the visible spectrum when neon is mixed with other gases. For this reason, neon was the precursor of today’s modern plasma displays and TV screens. Lesser known applications include neon as a refrigerant in its liquid form. It has 40 times the refrigerant capacity of liquid helium and three times the refrigerant capacity of liquid hydrogen.

Neon has three stable isotopes: 20Ne, 21Ne, and 22Ne. 21Ne and 22Ne are both primordial (have existed since the formation of the earth) and nucleogenic (produced through naturally-occurring nuclear reactions). The nucleogenic instances of neon isotopes are known to be a result of nuclear reactions, primarily with 24Mg and 25Mg. 20Ne, on the other hand, is known to be primordial but not nucleogenic. The relative sources of 20Ne, while the most abundant of the three isotopes on earth, is debated to this day. Due to the enriched amounts of 20Ne in volcanic gas and its presence in diamonds, some theorize that there may exist a “solar neon reservoir” in the Earth. Throughout this scientific discovery and analysis process of all three naturally-occurring neon isotopes, it is now being theorized that neon can be useful in determining cosmic exposure ages of meteorites and rocks located on a planetary body’s surface.

Neon Properties

Neon Bohr ModelNeon is a Block P, Group 18, Period 10 element. The number of electrons in each of Neon's shells is 2, 8 and its electronic configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6. In its elemental form neon's CAS number is 7440-01-9. The neon atom has a covalent radius of and it's Van der Waals radius is Neon is found in small amounts in the Earth's atmosphere and is commercially produced by cryogenic fractional distillation of liquefied air. Neon was discovered and first isolated by Sir William Ramsay and Morris W. Travers in 1898. The origin of the name comes from the Greek word neon meaning new.

Neon information, including technical data, properties, and other useful facts are specified below. Scientific facts such as the atomic structure, ionization energy, abundance on Earth, conductivity, and thermal properties are included.

Symbol: Ne
Atomic Number: 10
Atomic Weight: 20.18
Element Category: noble gases
Group, Period, Block: 18, 2, p
Color: colorless
Other Names: Neo
Melting Point: -248.59°C, -415.462°F, 24.56 K
Boiling Point: -246.053°C, -410.895°F, 27.097 K
Density: 1442 (5 K) kg·m3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: 1.207 g·cm3
Density @ 20°C: 0.0009 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 1444 kg·m3
Specific Heat: N/A
Superconductivity Temperature: N/A
Triple Point: 24.556 K, 43.37 kPa
Critical Point: 44.4918 K, 2.7686 MPa
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 0.324
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 1.736
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 0
Thermal Conductivity: 49.1x10-3  W·m-1·K-1
Thermal Expansion: N/A
Electrical Resistivity: N/A
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 5R/2 = 20.786 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: N/A
Shear Modulus: N/A
Bulk Modulus: 654 GPa
Poisson Ratio: N/A
Mohs Hardness: N/A
Vickers Hardness: N/A
Brinell Hardness: N/A
Speed of Sound: (gas, 0 °C) 435 m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: N/A
Sanderson Electronegativity: 4.5
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 4.84
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: 3.98 (12.5% s orbital)
Allen Electronegativity: 4.787
Pauling Electropositivity: N/A
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: 1.000067
Electrons: 10
Protons: 10
Neutrons: 10
Electron Configuration: [He]2s22p6
Atomic Radius: N/A
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 58 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 0.62
Van der Waals Radius: 154 pm
Oxidation States: 1, 0
Phase: Gas
Crystal Structure: face-centered cubic
Magnetic Ordering: diamagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) Not stable
1st Ionization Energy: 2080.7 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 3952.3 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 6122 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-01-9
EC Number: 231-110-9
MDL Number: MFCD00011136
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Ne]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Ne
PubChem CID: 23935
ChemSpider ID: 22377
Earth - Total: 0.50E-8 cm^3/g
Mercury - Total: N/A
Venus - Total: 49E-8 cm^3/g 
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 0.12
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 0.037
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 3
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 3
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: 1000000
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: 70000
Stream, ppb by weight: N/A
Stream, ppb by atoms: N/A
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: N/A
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: N/A
Universe, ppb by weight: 1300000
Universe, ppb by atom: 80000
Discovered By: William Ramsay & Morris Travers
Discovery Date: 1898
First Isolation: William Ramsay & Morris Travers (1898)

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Neon

Neon is not toxic and is chemically inert, and thus poses minimal environmental or health threats. At room temperature, neon is typically only harmful when its presence leads to displacement of oxygen in the air, creating potential for asphyxiation. Liquid neon is extremely cold; therefore skin contact with the liquid can cause frostbite, and should be avoided.

Safety Data
Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS
Signal Word Warning
Hazard Statements H280
Hazard Codes N/A
Risk Codes N/A
Safety Precautions N/A
RTECS Number N/A
Transport Information N/A
WGK Germany 3
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)
Gas Cylinder - Gases Under Pressure

Neon Isotopes

Neon has three stable isotopes: 20Ne, 21Ne, and 22Ne

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
16Ne 16.025761(22) 9E-21 s [122(37) keV] 2p to 14O 0+ N/A 94.75 -
17Ne 17.017672(29) 109.2(6) ms ß+ + p to 16O; ß+ + a to 13N; ß+ to 17F 1/2- N/A 110.28 -
18Ne 18.0057082(3) 1.672(8) s EC to 18F 0+ N/A 129.54 -
19Ne 19.0018802(3) 17.296(5) s EC to 19F 1/2+ -1.885 141.34 -
20Ne 19.9924401754(19) STABLE - 0+ 0 157.81 90.48
21Ne 20.99384668(4) STABLE - 3/2+ -0.661796 164.95 0.27
22Ne 21.991385114(19) STABLE - 0+ 0 174.9 9.25
23Ne 22.99446690(11) 37.24(12) s ß- to 23Na 5/2+ -1.08 180.18 -
24Ne 23.9936108(4) 3.38(2) min ß- to 24Na 0+ N/A 189.19 -
25Ne 24.997737(28) 602(8) ms ß- to 25Na (3/2)+ N/A 193.54 -
26Ne 26.000461(29) 197(1) ms ß- to 26Na; ß- + n  to 25Na 0+ N/A 198.83 -
27Ne 27.00759(12) 32(2) ms ß- to 27Na; ß- + n  to 26Na (3/2+)# N/A 200.38 -
28Ne 28.01207(16) 18.3(22) ms ß- to 28Na; ß- + n  to 27Na 0+ N/A 203.8 -
29Ne 29.01939(29) 15.6(5) ms ß- to 29Na (3/2+)# N/A 205.36 -
30Ne 30.02480(61) 5.8(2) ms ß- to 30Na 0+ N/A 208.78 -
31Ne 31.03311(97)# 3.4(8) ms ß- to 31Na; ß- + n  to 30Na 7/2-# N/A 208.48 -
32Ne 32.04002(86)# 3.5(9) ms ß- + n  to 31Na; ß- to 32Na 0+ N/A 210.03 -
33Ne 33.04938(86)# <260 ns Unknown 7/2-# N/A 209.73 -
34Ne 34.05703(87)# 1# ms [>1.5 µs] Unknown 0+ N/A 210.35 -
Neon Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Neon

  • Monte Carlo simulations of nanoscale focused neon ion beam sputtering of copper: elucidating resolution limits and sub-surface damage. Timilsina R, Tan S, Livengood R, Rack PD. Nanotechnology. 8-73-2015
  • Fast imaging of intact and shattered cryogenic neon pellets. Wang Z, Combs SK, Baylor LR, Foust CR, Lyttle MS, Meitner SJ, Rasmussen DA. Rev Sci Instrum. 12/1/2015
  • NEON: Addressing the Nation's Environmental Challenges. National Research Council (US) Committee on the National Ecological Observatory Network. null. 9/30/2015
  • RESEARCH FACILITIES. The dimming of NEON. Mervis J. Science. 9/30/2015
  • Characterization of a radical S-adenosyl-L-methionine epimerase, NeoN, in the last step of neomycin B biosynthesis. Kudo F, Hoshi S, Kawashima T, Kamachi T, Eguchi T. J Am Chem Soc. 9/29/2015
  • The Mechanism of Color Change in the Neon Tetra Fish: a Light-Induced Tunable Photonic Crystal Array. Gur D, Palmer BA, Leshem B, Oron D, Fratzl P, Weiner S, Addadi L. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 9/24/2015
  • Variability of Suitable Habitat of Western Winter-Spring Cohort for Neon Flying Squid in the Northwest Pacific under Anomalous Environments. Yu W, Chen X, Yi Q, Chen Y, Zhang Y. PLoS One. 9/24/2015
  • [Age-related peculiarities of thymus reaction to the exposure to helium-neon laser and injured muscle alloplasty with the muscle tissue from the animals of the same age]. Bulyakova NV, Azarova VS. Morfologiia. 9/23/2015
  • Erratum: "Electron impact excitation of the low-lying 3s[3/2]1 and 3s'[1/2]1 levels in neon for incident energies between 20 and 300 eV" [J. Chem. Phys. 139, 184301 (2013)]. Hoshino M, Murai H, Kato H, Brunger MJ, Itikawa Y, Tanaka H. J Chem Phys. 9/23/2015
  • A successful helium-neon laser and topical tacrolimus combination therapy in one child with vitiligo. Byun JW, Babitha S, Kim EK, Shin J. Dermatol Ther. 9/8/2015