If you have ever seen a white or green “neon” sign then chances are you have seen Krypton in action. It is not normal for a Hycomp compressor to be employed in compressing high concentrations of Krypton. However, it has been incorporated in many gas mixtures we have engineered compressors for and it is a gas we easily handle.

Krypton’s multiple emission lines make ionized krypton gas discharges appear whitish, which in turn makes krypton-based bulbs useful in photography as a brilliant white light source. Krypton is used in some types of photographic flashes used in high speed photography. Krypton gas is also often combined with other gases to make luminous “neon” signs that glow with a bright greenish-yellow light.

Krypton, neon, and xenon are rare atmospheric gases. Each is odorless, colorless, tasteless, nontoxic, monatomic, and chemically inert. All three together constitute less than 0.002 percent of the atmosphere with the approximate concentrations in the atmosphere of 18 ppm for neon, 1.1. ppm for krypton, and 0.09 ppm for xenon. Few users of the three gases need them in bulk quantities, and the three are shipped most often in single cylinders and glass liter flasks.

Among the rare gases, neon, krypton, and xenon in particular ionize at lower voltages than other gases, and the brilliant, distinctive light they emit while conducting electricity in the ionized state accounts for one of their primary uses. Their characteristic colors as ionized conductors are red for neon, yellow-green for krypton, and blue to green for xenon. Similarly, argon and helium are also used for this purpose and emit red or blue for argon and yellow for helium.

Neon, krypton, and xenon are produced commercially at air separation plants in two stages- an initial stage of partial separation by liquefaction and fractional distillation, and a final purification stage requiring complex processing.

Safety, Storage & Handling:

Neon, krypton, and xenon are nontoxic and largely inert. They can act as a simple asphyxiate by displacing air, thereby diluting the concentration of oxygen below levels necessary to support life. Inhalation in excessive concentrations can result in dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness and death. Death may result from errors in judgment, confusion, or loss of consciousness, which prevents self-rescue. At low-oxygen concentrations, unconsciousness and death may occur in seconds without warning.

Gaseous neon, krypton, and xenon must be handled with all the precautions necessary for safety with any nonflammable, nontoxic compressed gas.

All precautions necessary for the safe handling of any gas liquefied at very low temperatures must be observed with liquid neon, krypton, and xenon. Extensive tissue damage or burns can result from exposure to liquid neon, krypton, and xenon or their cold vapors.

When disposal becomes necessary, vent neon, krypton, and xenon gas slowly to a well-ventilated outdoor location remote from personnel work areas and building air intakes. Do not dispose of any residual neon, krypton, and xenon in compressed gas cylinders. Return cylinders to the supplier with residual pressure, the cylinder valve tightly closed, and the valve caps in place. Allow liquid neon, krypton, and xenon to evaporate in well-ventilated outdoor locations that are remote from work areas.

First Aid. Avoid contact of the skin with liquid neon, krypton, and xenon or their cold boil-off vapor. Flush liquid neon, krypton and xenon with water to accelerate evaporation.

Inhalation. Since the rare gases are inert, they can cause asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in the atmosphere. Rescuers wearing an SCBA or air-line respirator should remove the affected person from the hazardous exposure to fresh air at once. If supplemental oxygen is available, administered by nasal canal or mask. Perform artificial respiration if the person is not breathing. Persons who have been unconscious should be taken to a hospital for evaluation and care.

Frostbite. In case of frostbite from exposure to liquid neon, krypton, and xenon, the frostbitten part should be placed in water between 100° F to 105° F (37.8oC to 40.6oC) and then be loosely bandaged with a dry, sterile dressing. If warm water is not available, or is impractical to use, wrap the affected area gently in blankets. Get professional medical attention as soon as possible.


Neon, krypton, and xenon are used principally to fill lamp bulbs and tubes. The electronics industry uses them singly or in mixtures in many types of gas-filled electron tubes (among them, voltage regulator tubes, starter tubes, phototubes, counter tubes, T.R. tubes, xenon thyratron tubes, half wave xenon rectifier tubes, and Geiger-Muller tubes). Large quantities of neon (as well as of atmospheric helium and specially purified argon) are used as fill gases in illuminated signs. Small quantities of krypton and xenon are used for special effects.

In the lamp industry, the three gases serve as fill gas in specialty lamps, neon glow lamps, 100-watt fluorescent lamps, ultraviolet sterilizing lamps, and very high-output lamps. The three gases have additional applications in the atomic energy field as fill gas for ionization chambers, bubble chambers, gaseous scintillation counters, bubble chambers, gaseous scintillation counters, and other detection and measurement devices.

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Examples of how and where Hycomp compressors and boosters are used to compress gas mixtures containing krypton:

IndustryKrypton Use
ElectronicsFilling lamp bulbs and tubes
ElectronicsPart of gas mixture used as fill gas in illuminated signs
PhotographyHigh speed photography flashes
Special EffectsLaser light shows
Nuclear Fusion Energy ResearchProduction and usage of the krypton fluoride laser
And other applications where elevated krypton pressures are needed.