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Zinc Sulfide

Author: Hans Lohninger

Zinc sulfide, ZnS, is a white to yellow-colored substance, which is known in two crystallographic forms: zinc blende or sphalerite (cubic), and wurtzite (hexagonal). Both sphalerite and wurtzite are intrinsic semiconductors showing a wide band gab (3.54 eV and 3.91 eV, respectively).

Sphalerite (cubic) Wurtzite (hexagonal)

ZnS is easily produced by igniting a mixture of zinc and sulfur. ZnS is insoluble in water and solutions containing Zn2+ ions readily precipitate ZnS if sulfide ions are added (ZnS is used for gravimetric analysis of zinc).

The most prominent property of ZnS is its phosphorescence, which has been first observed by Théodore Sidot in 1866. The color of the phosphorescence can be controlled by adding minute amounts of suitable activators, such as silver (bright blue), manganese (orange-red) or copper (green). Zinc sulfide is also used for infrared optical windows which are transparent from visible wavelength to over 12 µm.

Last Update: 2011-02-21