Quicksilver theorists proved right

Mercury chemistry is usually limited to the +1 and +2 oxidation states but theory suggested that a +4 state may be accessible. Now, Lester Andrews and colleagues at the University of Virginia have used cryogenic conditions to react mercury with an excess of fluorine in an argon or neon matrix under ultraviolet irradiation. The result - mercury(IV) fluoride. At least according to the evidence of a single infra-red spectroscopic band. If proved correct, however, the discovery is likely to stimulate chemists to pursue other high oxidation mercury salts such as the putatively more stable HgF62-