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"What of nitrogen? Is not it`s apparent great simplicity of action all a sham?" Michael Faraday

In 1910 R.J.Strutt (Lord Rayleigh) discovered that an electrical discharge in nitrogen gas produced "active nitrogen", an allotrope considered to be monatomic. The "whirling cloud of brilliant yellow light" produced by his apparatus reacted with quicksilver to produce explosive mercury nitride.

From Modern Inorganic Chemistry, J.W.Mellor 1934 --

page 679
page 680
page 681

From A Text-Book of Inorganic Chemistry, J.R.Partington 1946 --

page 545

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