The elemental allotropes white phosphorus and yellow arsenic would be potentially more useful reagents were it not for their extreme instability: the former bursts into flame in air, while the latter turns grey on exposure to light. Many approaches of varying difficulty have been tried to store these materials in a protected way so that they can be used when needed, for synthesis or other applications such as semiconductors. Now, Manfred Scheer of the University of Regensburg and colleagues have found that the substances can be stored safely and inexpensively in the pores inside activated charcoal and released into solutions when needed for a reaction.

Further reading

A Seitz et al. 2018 Nat. Commun. 9 361.