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The chemical formula of zinc sulfide is ZnS. Zinc sulfide is a chemical compound that is made by burning a mixture of zinc and sulfur. It can also be produced from waste materials such as smelter slag and pickle liquors.
Zinc sulfide is an insoluble crystalline solid with a high melting point, approximately 2123 K. It is black in color, but it can appear white due to impurities.
ZnS has a tetrahedral structure with coordination geometry at the zinc and sulfur atoms. At a certain temperature, it changes to a hexagonal form called wurtzite.
It is insoluble in water but dissolves in weak mineral acids, and soluble in methanol and glycerol. It reacts with non-oxidizing acids to form zinc (II) oxide and to release hydrogen sulfide gas.
When activated by an activator such as silver or manganese, ZnS exhibits intense phosphorescence, which is helpful in a variety of applications. It is used as a phosphor in cathode ray tubes and X-ray screens.
In the early years of nuclear physics, Ernest Rutherford and other scientists used Zinc Sulfide as a scintillation detector because it emits light upon excitation by x-rays or electron beams. This property made it useful in the dials of radium watches.
Powdered zinc sulfide acts as an efficient photocatalyst when illuminated, producing hydrogen gas from water. It is useful in a wide range of applications, from glow-in-the-dark products to electroluminescent panels.