Return to Elements Table


Application Notes

Potassium • Alkali Metal

Primary XPS region: K2p
Overlapping regions: C1s
Binding energies of common chemical states:

Chemical state Binding energy K2p3/2 / eV
KCl 292.9
KBr 293.2

Charge referenced to adventitious C1s peak at 284.8eV

Experimental Information

Interpretation of XPS spectra

General comments

crystal structureAbout This Element

Symbol: K
Date of Discovery: 1807
Name Origin: English potash
Appearance: silvery
Discoverer: Sir Humphry Davy
Obtained From: carnallite

Melting Point: 336.53 K
Boiling Point: 1032 K
Density[kg/m3]: 856
Molar Volume: 45.94 × 10-6 m3/mol
Protons/Electrons: 19
Neutrons: 20
Shell Structure: 2,8,8,1
Electron Configuration: [Ar]4s1
Oxidation State: 1
Crystal Structure: Cubic Body Centered

Potassium, the second lightest metal, was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy in 1807. It reacts violently with water and can even catch fire spontaneously in water. It can be found bound to other elements in seawater and minerals and is needed for plant growth. Potassium is commonly used in fertilizer. It is also used in gunpowder and glass and plays a vital role in animal cells as one of the partners in the Na-K pump. K-40 decays into Ar-40 and this process is used in the dating of rocks.

Application Notes

Return to Elements Table