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However, while teaching at the University of British Columbia, Neil Bartlett discovered that the gas platinum hexafluoride (Pt F and xenon have almost the same first ionization potential, Bartlett realized that platinum hexafluoride might also be able to oxidize xenon.
On March 23, 1962, he mixed the two gases and produced the first known compound of a noble gas, xenon hexafluoroplatinate.
Such non-equilibrium alignment of spins is a temporary condition, and is called hyperpolarization.
The process of hyperpolarizing the xenon is called optical pumping (although the process is different from pumping a laser).
The nuclear spins can be aligned beyond ordinary polarization levels by means of circularly polarized light and rubidium vapor.
The resulting spin polarization of xenon nuclei can surpass 50% of its maximum possible value, greatly exceeding the thermal equilibrium value dictated by paramagnetic statistics (typically 0.001% of the maximum value at room temperature, even in the strongest magnets).
This produces a stable, minimum energy configuration in which the outer electrons are tightly bound.
It is also found as a component of gases emitted from some mineral springs.
More than 40 unstable xenon isotopes undergo radioactive decay, and the isotope ratios of xenon are an important tool for studying the early history of the Solar System.
Xenon is a member of the zero-valence elements that are called noble or inert gases.
It is inert to most common chemical reactions (such as combustion, for example) because the outer valence shell contains eight electrons.
Elements more massive than iron-56 consume energy through fusion, and the synthesis of xenon represents no energy gain for a star.
Xe, have non-zero intrinsic angular momenta (nuclear spins, suitable for nuclear magnetic resonance).