Krypton (chemical symbol Kr) is a gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is a chemical element with the atomic number of 36 and its atomic mass is 83.8. It is one of 6 known nobel gases (very low chemical reactivity) and is present in trace amounts in Earth’s atmosphere. It was discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers as they experimented with air. It is considered to be an expensive and rare gas, which does limit its uses. However, it has many common uses that most people are unaware of.
Uses of Krypton
- Krypton based bulbs are used in some photography applications because it produces white light under certain conditions. It is usually used in high speed flash photography.
- This white discharge is also used in colored gas tubes to create a similar effect to a neon sign.
- Krypton is used in the production and usage of the krypton fluoride laser, which is being used in research for nuclear fusion. It is also suitable for use in high powered laser shows.
- It is mixed with argon to fill fluorescent lamps. This makes them more energy efficient by reducing the power they require. Unfortunately, this also makes this type of bulb more expensive and reduces the light output. It is also, together with xenon, used in regular light bulbs to reduce filament evaporation and allow it to operate at higher temperatures.
- An isotope of krypton is used in medical scans (MRI scan) of the airways.
- A measure of the wavelength of light emitted isotope of krypton was used to define the distance of a meter from 1960 to 1983.