Related topics: nitrogen

Life could have emerged from lakes with high phosphorus

Life as we know it requires phosphorus. It's one of the six main chemical elements of life, it forms the backbone of DNA and RNA molecules, acts as the main currency for energy in all cells and anchors the lipids that separate ...

A new way to corrosion-proof thin atomic sheets

A variety of two-dimensional materials that have promising properties for optical, electronic, or optoelectronic applications have been held back by the fact that they quickly degrade when exposed to oxygen and water vapor. ...

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam

The ultimate degree of control for engineering would be the ability to create and manipulate materials at the most basic level, fabricating devices atom by atom with precise control.

The history of China as told through phosphorus

(Phys.org)—Phosphorus is a necessary component of fertilizers needed for agriculture. In 2013 about 225 million tons of phosphate was extracted predominantly for fertilizer use. This rate could diminish the Earth's phosphorus ...

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Phosphorus

Phosphorus (pronounced /ˈfɒsfərəs/) is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus is commonly found in inorganic phosphate rocks. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms - white phosphorus and red phosphorus. Although the term "phosphorescence", meaning glow after illumination, derives from phosphorus, glow of phosphorus originates from oxidation of the white (but not red) phosphorus and should be called chemiluminescence.

Due to its high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element in nature on Earth. The first form of phosphorus to be discovered (white phosphorus, discovered in 1669) emits a faint glow upon exposure to oxygen — hence its name given from Greek mythology, Φωσφόρος meaning "light-bearer" (Latin Lucifer), referring to the "Morning Star", the planet Venus.

Phosphorus is a component of DNA, RNA, ATP, and also the phospholipids which form all cell membranes. It is thus an essential element for all living cells. The most important commercial use of phosphorus-based chemicals is the production of fertilizers.

Phosphorus compounds are also widely used in explosives, nerve agents, friction matches, fireworks, pesticides, toothpaste and detergents.

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