Mercury • Transition Metal

Primary XPS region: Hg4f
Overlapping regions: Si2p, La4d
Binding energies of common chemical states:

Chemical stateBinding energy Hg4f7/2/eV
As received cinnabar (HgS)100.3 eV

Experimental Information


Interpretation of XPS spectra

Hg4f region has well separated spin-orbit components (Δ=4.0 eV).

crystal structureAbout This Element

Symbol: Hg
Date of Discovery: ancient times
Name Origin: Names after the planet Mercury. The origin of the symbol Hg is the Latin word hydrargyrum meaning "liquid silver"
Appearance: silver
Discoverer: not known
Obtained From: cinnabar ore

Melting Point: 234.32 K
Boiling Point: 629.88 K
Density[kg/m3]: 13579.04
Molar Volume: 14.09 × 10-6 m3/mol
Protons/Electrons: 80
Neutrons: 121
Shell Structure: 2,8,18,32,18,2
Electron Configuration: [Xe]4f145d106s2
Oxidation State: 2,1
Crystal Structure: Rhombohedral

Mercury is one of the three elements that are liquid at room temperature. Mercury is used in thermometers, barometers, and other laboratory equipment, however because its vapor, compounds, and salts are toxic, most thermometers use pigmented alcohol instead of mercury. Mercury is still used in medical thermometers to ensure better accuracy. Mercury has been found in Egyptian tombs from 1500 B.C. Mercury nitrate was used to remove the fur from animal skins to make hats. The constant exposure of the hatters to mercury nitrate caused many cases of brain damage which is the origin of the saying “as mad as a hatter”. This led to the creation of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

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