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Xenon is the noble gas whose primary use is in stroboscopes and photographic flashes. Xenon is also used in lasers and ion thrusters for space travel.
Several xenon isotopes are stable, but others are radioactive, and many of them have half-lives of over a hundred years. Among the stable isotopes are 126Xe, 128Xe, 129Xe, 130Xe, 131Xe, 132Xe, and 134Xe. The most common radioactive isotope, 135Xe, is produced in nuclear reactors by fission of uranium. It is a powerful neutron absorber that slows and sometimes stops nuclear reactions.
A number of xenon-nitrogen bonded compounds are known, including cations such as (C6F5)Xe+ and (m-CF3C6H4)Xe+, and complexes such as [FXeF2][N(SO2F)2]+, which acts like a fluoride-ion donor in coordination to antimony pentafluoride, and FXeF2+, which oxidizes to the XeF+ cation by analogy with KrF2 (see krypton: compounds).
Another important chemical compound is XeF2, which is a fluorescent molecule similar to krypton difluoride. It is an emerald green paramagnetic cation that can be prepared as the BF4- salt, by reaction of xenon with liquid antimony pentafluoride in the dark. The cation is a good electron pair acceptor toward nitrogen Lewis bases. It can be stabilized by a variety of ligands. In addition, a number of different xenon-fluorine halides have been synthesized and are of important practical importance. The simplest and easiest to prepare is XeF2, but the higher halides XeF4, XeF6, and XeF7 are also of importance. In particular, XeF4 is of interest as a light-emitting species for high pressure arc lamps, and XeF6 is an excellent stroboscope material.