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Zinc sulphide is a chemical that has the molecular formula ZnS. It is a water-insoluble and dense compound that occurs naturally as the mineral zinc blende, also known as sphalerite. It comes in a white or yellowish-white crystal form.
It is made in the laboratory by passing hydrogen sulfide gas through a solution of a zinc salt, such as zinc chloride or zinc nitrate. It is then filtered and dried.
Unlike many other molecules, Zinc Sulphide can have a number of unique structures. The crystalline form of the molecule can change to a zinc blende structure, which has a diamond-type network at a different temperature, or it can change to a wurtzite structure, with hexagonal symmetry. The sphalerite structure is more thermodynamically favorable, but the wurtzite structure can still be discovered due to its delayed development.
Zinc Sulphide can be prepared by heating a mixture of zinc and sulfur or by burning a mixture of sulfide and zinc. It can also be produced by passing hydrogen sulfide through an aqueous solution of a soluble zinc salt.
Zinc sulphide has strong phosphorescence with addition of only a few ppm of suitable activator. It is often used as a luminescent material, from cathode ray tubes to X-ray screens to glow-in-the-dark products. With silver, the phosphorescence is a bright blue color, with a maximum of 450 nanometers. With manganese, the phosphorescence is an orange-red color with a maximum of 590 nanometers.