On the Spectrum of Nitrogen and that of Alkaline Metals in Geissler Tubes, by M. Salet


    IN 1872 Mr. Schuster published the important statement that “nitrogen, heated in a Geissler tube with metallic sodium, ceased to give the characteristic channelled spectrum.” He described the bright lines he got in this case, and attributed them to pure nitrogen, considering the band spectrum to be that of an oxide of nitrogen, a compound destroyed by the alkaline metal. These conclusions were afterwards disputed, for, in repetition of the experiments, the channelled spectra were seen to disappear after action of the sodium, but they were replaced by various spectra, none of which belonged to nitrogen; so that, after its purification, this gas could not be detected by prismatic analysis. The chemical compound really formed by the action of oxygen on nitrogen is (as M. Saiet pointed out) peroxide of nitrogen, a very stable substance, whose spectrum does not coincide with that, the appearance of which is to be explained.

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