Superman Beware: Scientists Have Got The Formula To Create Kryptonite (Almost)

Posted: Mar 7 2016, 9:01am CST | by , Updated: Mar 7 2016, 5:47pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Superman Beware: Scientists have Got the Formula to Create Kryptonite (Almost)
Credit: Warner Bros. Pcitures

Researchers have found a way to combine krypton and oxygen and create a compound called krypton oxide.

This may be a bad news for superman. Scientists are getting closer to creating kryptonite that can deprive superman of his powers.

Theoretical chemists from Polish Institute of Physical Chemistry have found a way to combine krypton and oxygen and create the compound called krypton oxide. The exotic substance require extremely high pressure and modern-day laboratories are fairly capable of creating it.

Kryptonite is a fictional material that weakens superman and is supposedly obtained from planet Krypton which likely has very high pressure conditions. The name of the alien planet is derived from real-life chemical element Krypton.

Krypton is a noble gas and has very low chemical reactivity. However, researchers claim that production of a kryptonite -like crystalline material is possible in real-life. All we need is to chemically bond the atoms of krypton to another element.

“The substance we are predicating is a compound of krypton with oxygen, not nitrogen. In the convention of the comic book it should, therefore, be called ‘kryptoixde,’ not ‘kryptonite.’ So, if superman reading this, he can stay calm- at the moment, there is no cause for panic,” said co-researcher Dr. Patrick Zaleski-Ejgierd. “Our krypton monoxide, KrO, probably does not exist in nature. According to current knowledge, the deep interiors of planets are the only place where there is sufficient pressure for its synthesis. Oxygen does not exist there, nor does krypton.”

In a laboratory experiment, when krypton was interacted with low temperatures, it only produced small and single molecules of hydrogen-carbon-krypton-carbon-hydrogen type. Researchers used genetic algorithms and models to find out whether it is possible to not only chemically bond krypton with another element but also to form extensive and stable crystals. 

“Our computer simulations suggest that crystals of krypton monoxide will be formed at a pressure in the range of 300 to 500 million atmospheres. This is a high pressure, but it can be achieved even in today’s laboratories, by skillfully squeezing samples in diamond anvils.” Pawel M. Lata said, a researcher at Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences said.

Diamond anvil cell is a high-pressure apparatus that can squeeze a sample to extreme pressures, up to about 3.6 million atmospheres. 

“Reactions occurring at extremely high pressure are almost unknown, very, very exotic chemistry,” said Dr. Zaleski-Ejgierd. “We call it ‘Chemistry on the Edge.’ Often the pressures needed to perform synthesis are so gigantic that at present, there is no point in trying to produce them in laboratories. But what is more interesting here is non-intuitiveness. From the very first to the last step of synthesis you never know what’s going to happen.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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