First off, I am currently confused about why neon can even be ionized at all. But since it can be ionized, this is the energy required to give a mole of neon a charge of +8: 207,390,000 joules!! Or ~0.5 GJ! Giving one-fifth of a kilogram of neon the maximum charge would be like the energy from 50 armor-piercing rounds of the ISU-150 assault tank, or approximately one Tour-de-France! Charging up one kilo of neon would be basically either throwing a lightning bolt or melting a tonne of steel.

My question is, what insidious chemical or procedure could rip away all of neon's electrons like that? Or is it just simply impossible to do?

I suspect that it is possible to do (otherwise how would they be able to calculate the energy expenditure), but how is the question.


3 Answers 3


Of course you can take all the electrons off an atom - it is then called "fully stripped" in atomic physics. You don't need to do it to an entire mole, mind you. In accelerators one would send energetic neon ions through a background gas or a thin foil, and the interactions will result in various charge states coming out, up to and including fully stripped.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ As an example, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) smashes bare gold nuclei ($\ce{Au^{79+}}$) and uranium nuclei (presumably also devoid of electrons, $\ce{U^{92+}}$) into each other during experiments. At least part of the ionizations are performed by electron bombardment. Of course, these species will never be found inside a flask in the lab, as they would immediately tear dozens of electrons out of whatever came into contact with them. $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2015 at 1:22

First - in chemistry there's technically no such thing as bare multivalent cation, second - as you think, there's no such energetic chemical reaction, third - ionisation energy is physical property (although important for chemistry) and

"(...) is usually measured in an electric discharge tube in which a fast-moving electron generated by an electric current collides with a gaseous atom of the element, causing it to eject one of its electrons."


Not only can $\ce{Ne^{8+}}$ exist, it probably does in the Sun's corona. And we may even have $\ce{Ne^{9+}}$ there.


During the total solar eclipse of 1769, two scientists independently discovered an element, coronium, from a green spectral line emitted by the Sun's corona. The discovery stood until the 1930s, when the line was correlated instead with iron --ionized 13 times ($\ce{Fe^{13+}}$). Other spectral lines were assigned to other heavily ionized elements such as nickel. What was actually discovered was a tremendous energy source that heats the corona to the millions of degrees needed to create such ions by thermal energy. Powerful magnetic forces are known to exist on the surface of the Sun and are believed to be the coronal energy source.

Ionization energies

A look at a table of ionization energies reveals that it takes a total of about $920$ eV to ionize neon to $\ce{Ne^{8+}}$, but the corona is able to provide at least $2040$ eV to some atoms forming coronium/$\ce{Fe^{13+}}$. So clearly if the corona can produce the former, it can also produce the latter provided that the neon exists. Evidence for such neon may be found from the occurrence of this gas in the Moon's exosphere, likely derived from the solar wind.


Now, about that $\ce{Ne^{9+}}$. If we add the ninth ionization energy of neon to the first eight which were totaled above, we get a total of about $2120$ eV to form $\ce{Ne^{9+}}$, compared with the $2040$ for the known $\ce{Fe^{13+}}$. It would therefore be not much of a reach to assume that the corona can impart the ninth ionization of neon, too.

  • $\begingroup$ All that might be needed is a collision between two such particles. $\endgroup$
    – jimchmst
    Aug 16 at 19:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.